4 July, 2024

E180 – Scott Thomson, Former Head of Innovation, Customer Engineering at Google Cloud

Our guest for episode 180 is Scott Thomson, Former Head of Innovation, Customer Engineering at Google Cloud. In Scott’s words – he helps customers across the world with their innovation challenges. He loves getting deep into the crux of what’s at the heart of a customer’s problem and challenges them to break through the glass ceiling of their own ambition – aiming for big 10X improvements (not just 10% lifts) through rapid ideation and testing and tackling high-risk projects first.

Despite (or perhaps due to) his well-earned status as one of Australia’s leading innovators, Scott remains a hacker at heart and still loves to get his hands dirty as well as learning about as many new things as possible. He’s spent his entire career, spanning from the nineties, in AI – experience that puts him in a space not too many others could lay claim to.

From the days of simple neural networks – allowing people to predict, forecast, classify and solve more complicated problems, to the great AI awakening (as the New York Times termed it in 2016) and rise of large language models in 2017, to the burgeoning field of generative AI, Scott has been there through it all.

In this fascinating and incredibly timely conversation, Scott and Ian dive into the remarkable progress of generative AI and the potential it has to drive the highest value business chains within organisations by re-engineering the operational processes behind them. He breaks down AI’s potential, in highly practical terms, in tasks like document summarisation and productivity enhancement, and advocates for integrating AI tools seamlessly into business processes. He also considers the important ethical considerations, calling for sensible AI regulations that focus on managing its applications responsibly.

In a world where everyone is grappling with what AI means, this insightful and practical conversation will help you understand where to place AI in the day-to-day. Take a listen.

Quickfire Round:
Book: ‘The Coming Wave’ by Mustafa Suleyman, Michael Bhaskar
Podcast: Open the Pod Bay Doors
News source: Google Pixel news feed
Productivity tool: Google Photos
CEO: Can’t remember his name, but he had a profound impact on Scott when me met him as a young person!
TV Show: Foundation
TedTalk topic: 10X thinking: how do you open up your mind to think 10X about a problem?

Interested in learning more about how Google Cloud can assist you to reach sustainability goals? Head to Google Cloud’s website, sign up for free and receive $300 in credit, or reach out to your Google rep or Innovation Bay who will put you in touch.

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