Using AI to Create a Well-Rounded Understanding of Art: A Conversation with Mikhail Piotrovsky

The Hermitage Museum, in Saint Petersburg, Russia, is one of the world’s largest and most prestigious museums. Founded in 1764 when Empress Catherine the Great purchased a large collection of Western European paintings, It has been open to the public since 1852 and currently its exhibitions contain over 3 million items. Recently, Francesco Rulli, Global CEO of Querlo, spoke with Mikhail Piotrovsky, Director of Hermitage Museum, about the importance of understanding the values of past civilizations, the use of AI in the art world, and the initiatives Hermitage has been taking during the pandemic. 

Professor Piotrovsky, born in Yerevan in the Armanian Soviet Socialist Republic, has been the Director of the Hermitage for 28 years succeeding his father who was Director for 26 years. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, a year after he was appointed Director, Piotrovsky advocated for the opening of the museum to a wider audience. In addition, he is the Dean of Oriental Studies and the Head Chair of Mesology at the University of Saint Petersburg. For more information about him, you can visit his Wikipedia page.

To many, going to a museum to look at art was thought of as therapeutic and a way to step aside from all the troubles that life may bring and just enjoy being in the moment, surrounded by beautiful works. However, as covid struck, museums like the Hermitage had to completely rethink how they were going to deliver this experience to their visitors. The Hermitage created a large online program so that people could still visit the works virtually and the museum has had about 50 million visitors so far. Piotrovsky noted that as everything is falling apart in the pandemic, “we have to fight to keep the cultural relations because this is very important for the future.” Nevertheless, while it is important to think of art as therapeutic, he discussed how it is also necessary for people to understand the deeper, spiritual meanings behind the works.

Along with being CEO of Querlo, Francesco is also the Chief Digital Officer at the Opera Di Santa Maria Del Fiore in Florence and has been working with their team to develop the Michelangelo AI. This application will allow the public to communicate with Michelangelo and help Francesco and the Opera understand what kinds of questions people have about him. When asked about the role of AI in the art world, Piotrovsky discussed how using AI is important, but the next step is to make it more human-like. By this, he means that AI should be prepared to both answer more complicated questions and provide responses that give users new ideas to think about that they normally wouldn’t have thought about asking. 

As it slowly starts their reopening process, the Hermitage has been using AI in several of the exhibitions both to help with crowd control so people aren’t spending too much time standing in one place and to help people learn about the art in a deeper way. Visitors can first visit Hermitage’s website and social media and listen to different types of lectures and stories and then come to the museum and use their phones as guides.

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

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.

Making the Past Relevant with AI: A Conversation with William Wallace

What is it about Michelangelo’s art that still resonates with us 500 years later? This idea, that one man can have such an extraordinary impact on civilizations, is what keeps William Wallace, Author and Art History Professor at Washington University at St. Louis, thinking, learning, and writing about Michelangelo. Recently, Francesco Rulli, Global CEO of Querlo and Chief Digital Officer at the Opera Del Duomo in Florence, spoke with William about the importance of understanding the values of past civilizations and the use of AI in the world of art.

William attended Columbia University to study the art of Bologna and ended up taking a trip to Italy, in which he discovered Michelangelo and his works. He has been writing about Michelangelo ever since he graduated in 1983. 

The three most important areas that are necessary to understand a civilization are its art, its culture, and its spirituality. William feels that is the reason why we are interested in artists like Michelangelo today and how we, in turn,  are going to be measured 500 years from now. And as William pointed out, “if we don’t promote those things and preserve those things then we have lost more than just what we’ve lost during this covid environment.” 

One of Francesco’s main initiatives as Chief Digital Officer at the Opera del Duomo is the creation of the Michelangelo AI. His team worked to build a chatbot that has the capability to listen and learn from people asking questions to Michelangelo and then engaging experts. The goal is to both engage people who want to learn more about his life and to understand what it is that people want to know. When asked about the role of AI in the art world, William discussed how any way we can recover or learn more about the past and make it relevant to the future is exciting. It is important for people to understand that the past is still relevant to us today and is something on which we build the future, and AI is our future. 

AI and the Future of Learning: A Conversation with Molly Sargent

In continuation of Querlo’s interview series, Francesco Rulli, Global CEO of Querlo, spoke with Molly Sargent, CEO and Founder of ProImpress, about the challenges and opportunities in the post covid era and the role of Artificial Intelligence in the future.

ProImpress is a full-service training design and delivery consultancy that works to help its clients become more effective in client-facing and colleague-facing conversations. The company has worked with tens of thousands of professions, although generally the sales and service field, to support them in mastering the skills they need to engage with their clients and colleagues in an effective and meaningful way. 

The challenges of the pandemic started early as people were trying to figure out how to rapidly shift to working from home. Employees didn’t know how to engage with each other, they felt isolated, and those who were accustomed to routines that required physically being at work had to make a very quick pivot. However, what is so remarkable is to see how quickly the country was able to make this shift. As Molly described, people were ready to dive in and adapt to these extraordinary conditions which really demonstrates their willingness to try new skills and learn a whole new way of working. Molly also noted that she has really enjoyed getting a better sense of people’s personal lives through meeting with people on Zoom or WebEx. It really allows us to appreciate one another and add a sense of authenticity in communications.

Thinking about the role of AI in the post covid era, Molly believes that it will have a crucial role in making learning more engaging. She currently owns a patent on a high involvement learning platform and by incorporating AI it will be able to help people learn in a more fun and personalized way. By combining randomization and repetition, clients will be able to practice and contextualize their skills to develop their good habits and grow their ability. She is also about to release a new learning platform with the goal of connecting the information that people need to know with the playfulness of AI infused gamification. 

To learn more about ProImpress and their services, you can visit their website or contact Molly though LinkedIN.

Loss of Communication in the New Era: A Conversation with Sydney Johnson

In continuation of Querlo’s interview series, Phoebe Degn, intern at Querlo, spoke with Sydney Johnson, intern at Edge of Yesterday, about the challenges and opportunities in the post-COVID era, as well as the role of Artificial Intelligence in the future. 

One challenge that Sydney believes might emerge in the post-COVID era is a loss of communication. All this time spent in isolation has caused people to become more sheltered and for many, has led to a loss in some social skills. People have become so accustomed to speaking with one another through technology both professionally and non professionally, so it might be difficult to make that switch back.  

In the future, Artificial Intelligence could be very helpful with search engines and trying to answer questions. With something like Google, you type in one question and then get thousands of results and must search for your answer; however, AI is much more interactive and could help people get solutions faster.

Creating a Digital Health Strategy in this New Era: A Conversation with Matthew Park

As covid rapidly spread across the country, companies struggled as they had to shift completely to working remotely. With the pandemic came a digital transformation that many had not been prepared for and had to work tirelessly to figure out how to continue business in these extraordinary conditions. Recently, Francesco Rulli, Global CEO of Querlo, spoke with Matthew Park, General Manager of North America at Dacadoo, about the challenges and opportunities during the pandemic and in the post-covid era, as well as the role of Artificial Intelligence in the future. 

Dacadoo is a Zurich-based technology company that is working to drive digital transformation in healthcare. The company works mostly with the insurance sector, such as life insurers and health insurers, to provide digital engagement strategies and risk quantification. It combines mobile technologies, social networking, gamification, AI, and big data analytics to help their users improve their health and wellbeing.

One of the biggest challenges that Dacadoo faced  as covid struck was the change in the sales process and how they were going to adapt. Their main marketing method had been attending conferences, where they would have speaking roles and meet people, but that was not possible during the pandemic. Therefore, they had to shift that budget to digital media, which they didn’t have at the time. Matt described how they had to create new digital platforms and schedule webinars, which became difficult as they had to compete with hundreds of other companies trying to hold webinars at the same time. Their sales cycle also started to slow down as big companies like the life and health insurers that Dacadoo does business with don’t want to spend too much while they aren’t sure yet how the pandemic is going to affect them. 

Despite all the difficulties that covid has created, it has also created an awareness of why companies need to have a digital health strategy. Matt spoke about how the pandemic will actually kick-start many companies into a faster platform acquisition process. He believes there are going to be many opportunities in the future in this new digital era.

When asked about the role of AI, Matt discussed how it is a very important part of their platform as it ingests real-time data from users. They collect up to 100 data points about people’s health through wearables and through their app. The digital coach is what pulls all the information together in a database and then uses AI to understand a person’s health and how it’s evolving. One very important aspect of their app is that with the use of AI, they are able to make the app more personalized as they are able to have conversations with users about their health so they can make improvements.

To learn more about Dacadoo and its services, you can visit their website or email Matt at matt.park@dacadoo.com.  

Opportunities in the post-COVID Era from a GenZ Perspective: A Conversation with Hannah Dourgarian

Continuing Querlo’s interview series, Phoebe Degn, intern at Querlo, spoke with Hannah Dourgarian, intern at Edge of Yesterday, about the challenges and opportunities in the post-COVID era, as well as the role of Artificial Intelligence in the future. At the Edge of Yesterday, Hannah assists in producing articles for the website. 

When asked about the post-COVID era, Hannah talked about how there will be both challenges and opportunities with the education system. Due to the rapid shift in March to remote learning, many students have fallen behind in school. Additionally, not all schools or students have access to the same materials. The opportunities that arise include ensuring that students have access to more resources, both online and in person.

AI has had a very important role in this pandemic as everything has shifted online. Much of our daily routines are still made possible, such as school, work, doctor’s appointments, and other events are now available to do virtually.

The Gen Z Perspective on post-COVID and the role of AI: A Conversation with Janae Fouche

In continuation of Querlo’s interview series, Phoebe Degn, intern at Querlo, spoke with Janae Fouche, intern at the Edge of Yesterday, about the challenges and opportunities in the post-COVID era and the role of Artificial Intelligence. Janae is currently a rising senior in high school and has been writing articles and doing media production for the Edge of Yesterday.

Janae believes many challenges are going to arise in the post-COVID era as people re-adjust to being in public. For a long time many will likely be hesitant to go to public places such as movie theatres and museums because nobody knows who is sick. Additionally, traveling will be adversely affected because countries are dealing with COVID differently. However, Janae discussed how there are many new opportunities for entrepreneurs as people’s creativity is being tested in this world of uncertainty.

When asked about AI, Janae talked about how it will be very prevalent in this new era. Without it, we wouldn’t have all the opportunities that we do today, such as being able to work remotely and still communicate with others during the pandemic. As a whole, our country would not be the same as it is today without AI and its capabilities are only going to increase.

Searching for the Silver Linings in the New Era: A Conversation with Shawn O’Neal

What are the challenges and opportunities of the post-COVID era? What is the role of Artificial Intelligence in the future? Shawn O’Neal, CEO of Gain Theory North America, shared his responses to these questions in an interview with Francesco Rulli, Global CEO of Querlo.

Gain Theory is a global marketing effectiveness consultancy that brings together data, analytics, tech solutions, and insights to maximize marketing value for its clients. Present in six different continents, the company’s goal is to empower informed marketing decisions. 

Currently, this country is in an economic and social downturn. Shawn discussed how people have described the environment we are living through as similar to the Great Depression, the 1918 flu pandemic, and a social revolution all at one time. However, it is still important to look for silver linings through all these changes. Opportunities include new business models, new tools, and new ways of looking at the world post-COVID, which include people’s habits, their shopping, how much information is available to them on the internet and more. 

When asked about the role of AI, Shawn talked about how the country has already been on a journey with AI for many years, but the pandemic has accelerated this digital era. Data is growing and is providing Shawn and his company with more fuel to use AI that historically wouldn’t have been possible. People are now spending much more time online which simutalenly creates new habits that AI could learn. 

In the future, AI could become a very useful tool to speed up the way business models and tools measure a company’s data. This includes using AI to get diagnostics and prioritizing data so that employees can get those insights faster. 

To learn more about Gain Theory, you can visit their website at www.gaintheory.com or reach Shawn at shawnoneal@gaintheory.com or through LinkedIN.

Guiding Companies in a Digital Era: A Conversation with Kyle Robichaud

In continuation of Querlo’s interview series, Francesco Rulli, Global CEO of Querlo, spoke with Kyle Robichaud, Sr. Director of Digital Strategy Consulting at Cognizant, about the post-COVID era and the role of Artificial Intelligence in the future.

Cognizant Consulting is a multinational corporation that provides IT, consulting, and business process outsourcing services to its clients. Their main areas of expertise include digital engineering, data analysis, AI, and cloud. Cognizant’s goal is to guide its clients through a digital transformation by helping them to envision, build, and run more innovative and efficient businesses.

Kyle believes that the more significant challenges of these past few months and as we approach the post-COVID era are for the companies who have  not yet put their digital strategies to the forefront. By this, he means, they haven’t begun their digital transformation and are now struggling to enable their remote workforce in today’s climate. However, the way that Cognization delivers digital strategy allows companies to make this shift quickly. A digital transformation allows them to rethink the whole experience for their customers and employees, as well as figure out what’s truly needed to be successful in today’s market.

Looking ahead to the post-COVID era, Kyle envisions three different scenarios that AI can help enhance and streamline many businesses. The first is to use AI to ensure that companies are managing their cloud as best as possible to keep costs under control and limit any possible interruptions for their customers. The second scenario focuses on the large amounts of data coming in through IoT and how AI could look at the data and both identify and trigger reactions to certain problems. The third scenario is for businesses to utilize AI to test out potential ways that end-users might use applications before the applications go live. 

To learn more about Cognizant Consulting and their services, you can reach Kyle Robichaud through LinkedIN.