Between the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and the acceleration of digitization, technology is advancing at an incredible pace. The results have been overwhelmingly positive, surprising many while creating a sense of awe within a world that’s feeling increasingly futuristic.
Priscilla Lotman, founder and director of Ava2 Digital Asset Management, which aims to bridge the digital and real worlds, has seen firsthand the potential of what AI can achieve. She was particularly impressed when she visited Amelia’s office in London last February.
“We were introduced to Amelia and her capabilities,” says Priscilla. “I clearly remember thinking, ‘Wow! All the things we have been imagining for our company are now possible. This present is the future.’ ”
That level of innovation was the primary driver behind Priscilla's decision to pursue a career in technology. “The innovation is what still inspires me,” she says. “The ability to implement tech-based solutions, to creatively and efficiently solve a wide range of challenges, which result in new ways of doing business, and continuously improving on what we currently have.”
Having spent most of her career in financial services, Priscilla started researching how blockchain technology could assist the fund management sector in 2014.
“By 2017 we decided to launch Ava2,” she explains. “We wanted to also assist other companies in their pursuit of navigating the digital and the real world by working with them on their company culture, strategy and goals. It was then that I started to learn and find applications for AI-based solutions, as well as SaaS (Software as a Service), IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service) solutions.”
Priscilla says that AI is bringing about “enormous changes” within the financial services industry, including the way we perceive and interact with money. A few of her examples include:
- Streamline processes on all levels of the financial industry
- Risk management and credit scoring for real-time approval
- AI-based transaction monitoring for fraud reductions
- Draw valuable information on markets and consumer behavior from unstructured data
- Trading and hedging decision-making models for investment managers and pension funds
- Personal finance support services to optimize personal spending and market comparisons
- Personalized cybersecurity solutions based on customer hardware and applications (IoT)
Given the many ways in which AI is shaping the future, Priscilla believes it is time to adjust the way students are taught about technology.
“We, as a society, need to urgently redefine how and what we teach in our schools, universities and professional education,” she says. “The wider we spread the knowledge of technological tools, and how they can be applied from the creative to the more abstract side of everyday life, will make their use much more common and natural.”
Rather than wait for adulthood, Priscilla thinks high schools should focus on this aspect to overcome the perception that careers in technology are limited to select individuals.
“I think a woman’s perspective, especially on the emotional and ethical questions of AI, will be a catalyst in how the technology develops in a humanistic manner,” says Priscilla. “If we can get this message across, this will open more women to STEM fields.”
When pursuing a career in STEM, Priscilla advises women to “be an imaginer in a world of status quos.”
“Always ask the difficult questions,” she recommends. “Determination and grit are essential.” And that’s not all. Priscilla wants everyone to remember that learning is a never-ending journey, no matter the age, so always work hard to progress forward.
“There is nothing worse than thinking you already know it all,” she says. "Help others, collaborate and be kind... We get further by doing things together."