Empowering AI, Executive conversations, Interviews

Changing Our World With a Digital Transformation: A Conversation with Khaled Ismail

Lorenzo Meriggi / August 6, 2020

With rapid digitalization in this new era, businesses have been adapting faster than anyone could have anticipated. This widespread use of technology presents opportunities for businesses across the world as people become more accustomed to using digital platforms in their everyday lives. Recently, Francesco Rulli, Global CEO of Querlo, spoke with Khaled Ismail, Vice President of Communications for Europe, Central Asia, Middle East, and Africa, at Tetra Pak about the challenges and opportunities of the covid and post covid era, as well as the role of Artificial Intelligence in the future.

Tetra Pak is a multinational food processing and packaging solutions company that works closely with customers and suppliers to provide safe and environmentally sound products. Tetra Pak is one of the three companies in the Tetra Laval group, a privately held corporation formed in Sweden. The company is currently the largest food packaging company in the world, operating in over 160 countries. In addition to working at Tetra Pak for almost 18 years, Khaled is also the Chairman of The Marketing Society in the Middle East. In 2019 he published a book, This Is What Tickles Me, in which he reflects on how we think as individuals and learn from those experiences. 

Khaled began by discussing the challenges of the pandemic, noting that we have learned many lessons as individuals while being quarantined in our homes. These lessons include our personal patience while in lockdown, the importance of social interaction both in our professional and personal lives, and specifically for businesses, a new level of understanding of what a crisis looks like and how to adjust the company’s crisis management policies. However, covid presented many opportunities in the business world as companies began doing all of their business remotely. E-commerce was something that many companies didn’t need prior to covid, and as Khaled mentioned, the growth of e-commerce in the past 3 months is equivalent to what was anticipated to take 10 years. E-learning is also a new tool that provides many opportunities for students who want to enroll in classes at school or universities that they physically are unable to attend. In addition, digitizing health care is something that many professionals are working to accomplish so people can regulate certain symptoms at home rather than constantly having to go to a doctor. 

Looking to the future, Artificial Intelligence is a tool that will become very useful to companies. Khaled described how it had previously been thought of as a black box because nobody really knew what it was or how it worked. However, with the pandemic and the digital transformation that followed, it is now becoming more widespread. The benefits of AI include deep learning to find solutions to problems faster, no personality conflicts, which will allow a job to get done faster, and cost efficiency due to predictive maintenance. The only fear that Khaled has is that if AI becomes too intelligent, it could begin making decisions on it’s own that go against what it was programmed to do.