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Shell’s AI Boss Spills the Beans on Their Love Affair with Generative AI at Web Summit

Shell’s AI tale is a blend of ambition, caution, and a dash of realism, much like a blockbuster tech saga.

Posted by John Donovan: 15 November 2023

Get ready to dive into a world where oil meets AI! In a recent chit-chat at Lisbon’s Web Summit, Shell’s AI head honcho, Amy Challen, and Tom Lee-Devlin of The Economist, unraveled the company’s not-so-secret romance with generative artificial intelligence. Spoiler alert: it’s complicated.

Challen kicked off by dropping a bombshell: Shell’s been flirting with AI for years, even dabbling in the elusive generative AI scene. “We’ve been cozying up with large language models for eons,” she confessed, hinting at a deeper, more “intelligent” relationship with their data.

The conversation took a turn towards the future, with Challen painting a picture of an AI utopia in the energy sector. Imagine, HR and customer support on AI steroids, and knowledge management getting a techy facelift. Challen was practically starry-eyed describing the endless possibilities.

But wait, there’s a twist in this AI love story. Risks! Challen laid out the dangers like a tech-noir thriller: cybersecurity, data leaks, and the classic – bias and hallucinations in AI. “It’s not all sunshine and rainbows,” she warned, emphasizing the need for a human touch to keep their AI dreams grounded.

Shell’s AI journey hasn’t been a solo adventure. Challen revealed their strategy of playing the field, partnering with big names like Microsoft and cozying up with startups. “We don’t want to reinvent the wheel,” she explained, choosing to focus on what Shell does best: energy stuff.

As for the company’s workforce getting on board with this AI revolution? “We’re not there yet,” Challen admitted, echoing the challenges of navigating a tech-savvy path in a traditionally non-digital landscape.

Wrapping up, Challen reflected on generative AI’s potential to overshadow other AI forms. “It’s definitely a danger,” she mused, noting the spike in interest post-ChatGPT. “Everyone wants a piece of the generative AI pie, but they’re not sure why.”

Shell’s AI tale is a blend of ambition, caution, and a dash of realism, much like a blockbuster tech saga. As the world’s largest tech conference wrapped up, it’s clear that Shell’s AI adventure is just getting started. Stay tuned for the next chapter in this oil-meets-AI drama!

Named parties are invited to point out for correction any factual inaccuracies.

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