“Robots will replace massively humans in the next 10 years.” Interview with Pierre Pinna aka @ipfconline1

“Robots will replace massively humans in the next 10 years.” Pierre Pinna aka @ipfconline1 on AI, Big Data and how to react – as C-suite, company and individual.

Pierre Pinna, CEO of IPFCONLINE is – on social media – better known as @ipfconline1 on Twitter. Pierre can be counted to the top influential people on the web on Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Digital Marketing providing the community with high quality content and insights. Besides that he manages as CEO IPFCOnline a web agency focusing on helping traditional companies in the digital transformation.


What does the reader need to know, that is not included in your bio?

Nothing else important to add on my bio, Robin. But, to start, I just wanted to say something about an actually trendy topic: the fear of technology, digital disruption and especially the fear of artificial intelligence and robots. I just want to say that the biggest threat is not AI, but only human’s cupidity and stupidity (as always seen in our human history). AI will only be a mirror of what humans will do with it. Improving our lives instead of destroying them with Artificial Intelligence will only be a human choice. And using digital and new techs for making humanity progress is the way we have always choosen with IPFConline when we provide, at all level, our digital transformation services. To avoid a « Big Brother » world, it’s critical that Business and Ethics, now, really « work together » in our new digital and big data era.


How did a CEO of a web agency become one of the most influential people for tech, big data and artificial intelligence in the web?

A CEO of a web agency has a lot of data on new technologies topics. So he has an overall vision that will allow him/her to be influential.


What is your motivation for providing great content for free? Do you have any social media marketing secrets to share :-)?

We are in a world of information, data and also collaboration. Collaboration, which can be recognized to be one of the key factors in the digital transformation. We are therefore working, for our humble part, in this field to make progress the state of the digital eco-system. And three quick, easy to use and important social media marketing tips for you :

  • Provide only RELEVANT and QUALITY content (and, important point,  your Bio is included in that!)
  • Be… SOCIAL : Engage with your community with kindness, be fun too and always relevant.
  • And finally, very important to work in a long-term way : don’t play, just be YOU!

You focus on the tech industry. How do you estimate the state of the industry? 

The macroeconomic aspect determines the micro economy. So, let me first look at the macroeconomic state of our economy in the current digital era. Today, in 2017, everyone agrees that this year is the year of artificial intelligence. I think that’s correct, but … incomplete in the analysis. Indeed, we could rather that we are in the year of AI AND Big Data.


AI exists for more than 30 years in its “modern” form, exploiting the power of microprocessors and their ever-increasing computing capacity. What has recently changed is the advent of Big Data (for about 5 years) So, AI has now an enormous amount of data at its disposal, which was not the case before. And now, the challenge of our societies can be summarized as follows: How will this new eco-system be organized, new paradigm based on massively unstructured digitalized information and its methods of exploitation (artificial intelligence through machine learning, deep learning, neural networks, data science and algorithms).

USA and China currently have a considerable lead over the rest of the world with their digital giants: GAFA and TUNA (USA) vs. The Chinese BATX, which sets out to conquer the European market left fallow by the states of Europe that missed their digital revolution at the advent of the modern Internet and mobile telephony (only Nokia is emerging in Europe as a « big » the digital leader through the mobile/smartphone industry … it’s quite thin, I must confess).


The problem with these digital giants is that they are huge concerning their financial and market capitalization (for example, the value of GAFA is nearly equal to the GDP of France!) and at the same time there don’t create so much jobs at all! In our previous economic era, the biggest multinationals, besides their financial strength (Ford, Exon, General Motors, etc.), were also the biggest suppliers of jobs in the world. Today, everything has changed. On average, these digital financial giants employ 20 times less than the multinationals of the previous industrial revolution and this with up to 10 times more financial power than the « old » multinationals that were fueling the world economy.


It is clear then that we are now in a society where the labor market is becoming increasingly scarce. It is therefore an important fact of our new digital era: how will we organize the work of today and tomorrow, labor scaled down by the world’s digital financial leaders and this fact is also accentuated by the rise of robots and automation that begins to disrupt several industrial sectors. I think we are at the beginning in 2017 of this real automated work revolution where robots will replace massively humans in the next 10 years.


The middle classes are and will be increasingly precarious (because of the ineluctable scarcity of labor), the elites are, as we talked about before, increasingly powerful, which subsequently also produce the fact that the emerging or “poor” can’t  develop, by being not pulled from the top by the economies of so-called developed countries.

A problem arises, therefore, in front of this macro-economic situation: the regulation of technology and of its very powerful eco-system. It is one of the challenges of this year 2017, therefore, with also the development of Artificial Intelligence, fueled by the Big Data.


These are the two big “hotspots” I think for this year 2017 and the evolution of these two hotspots, I think, will reshape the entire organization of our companies in the next 10 years. We are therefore really in a pivotal year (a transition that I think should last 3 or 4 years) that will decide our future. So, to conclude, at the micro economic level, our era of disruption brings with it its sum of uncertainties that logically causes reluctance to invest more heavily in the so-called “real” economy.


Does this correspond with your clients? How do most of them estimate the current situation of their industry and its future?


Indeed, there is reluctance to invest more heavily in the digital transformation because of the current disruption context that remains “too vague” for the vast majority of SMEs. For the biggest structures, in France they support the very active ecosystem of innovative startups to develop new digital innovations in all economic sectors and in particular in Fintech and Insurtech, which are very active in Europe.


What do you think are the biggest chances for incumbents to use the digital transformation as a chance? What are the biggest hurdles in your opinion?


What we have seen is that an enormous majority of executives believe that their sector will be disrupted in the coming years and that it’s an opportunity, not a threat. At least half of them are afraid that their business model will become obsolete within 3 years and that they have not yet formalized a strategy.


About the State of the art of digitization of companies, today, most companies are hybrids. Some of their products or operations are digitized, others are not. Only a few (less than 20 %) are considered fully digitalized and about 20% are completely sealed with new technologies. Overall, a majority of companies believe that their sector has already begun its digital transformation, while more than half of them think they will be heavily impacted by the year 2020.

Of course, all sectors are not equal, some are more impacted than others by digitization: communication and media, financial and insurance services, the new technologies sector, B2B services and training, healthcare, will be among the most concerned In the coming years.


The priorities of companies are the design of digital consumer experiences, the improvement of internal methods (speed, relevance), the transformation of existing products. The main obstacles encountered is that restructuring the organization is a real challenge, that goes hand in hand with the resistance to change of employees; Then comes the lack of digital skills.

On this subject, specialists, through strong studies and surveys, notice the 8 skills that professionals must acquire in order for their company to succeed in their digital transformation:


• Ability to work with data and Advanced skills in data analysis (Data Scientists)

• Understanding UX design issues

• Ability to work together (Collaboration)

• Ability in processes automation

• IT skills for all services

• Mobile development expertise

• Social Media Expertise


And, finally, we can notice that without training, there could be a major employment crisis if the skills and competencies required are not adequate.


In conversation behind closed doors I hear a lot c-suits of large traditional companies say, that it’s just not in the DNA of their industry to take risks and invest heavily in possibly disruptive technologies and business models. How can they overcome cultural barriers?


I won’t speak about cultural barriers in fact. They are there or not. That’s a fact. We prefer to consider that if you explain correctly something important, everybody that is serious will listen to you, cultural barriers in his brain or not. So let me tell you this :

In our consulting services to companies in digital transformation, in industrial process innovation as well as in commercial one, marketing or organizational innovation, we have adopted a very pragmatic approach. In the sense that we present the problem of digital transformation from this point of view: given the state of digitization of your sector of activity and the near future (with several studies of reputed consulting firms in this direction demonstrating our purpose) well, if you do not innovate, you will simply disappear in the next 5 years! Seen from this angle, I can assure you that every serious leader is studying the situation more closely and is ready to embark on “his” digital transformation! 


Then, of course, there is always the fear of the unknown, changing a business model that currently works well. For this, we propose a “hybrid” organization, in the sense that we organize only part of the activity to be transformed digitally. The results are then visible on a year for example and above all, the apprehension of the change of organization is blurred since it has already been tested on part of the activity. From there, the leaders can launch themselves further into the digital way with less or no more apprehension.


What are your Top 5 advice for actions for an c-suite, that understands that he or she needs to act soon? What are your 5 Don’ts a company should definitely not do today?

  1. Working with a consulting firm competent in digital transformation processes.
  2. Redefining together, with the consulting firm, the whole commercial, marketing and / or industrial strategy of the company.
  3. Establishing gradually this new business plan to be fully active in 2020.
  4. At the same time, establishing a policy of long-term training of the C-Suites concerning how digital impacts their field of activity.
  5. Staying constantly in touch with external digital transformation experts, in order to react to the new factors of disruption that will inevitably appear in the coming years, until the stabilization of the digital disruption process.
  6. And with that, one thing not to be done: engaging “half”. Clearly, ALL activity sectors that can be included in a digital transformation must be explored and reorganized, otherwise the concerned company will no longer exists in the medium term.

At the end three more personal questions: What are your most favorite books? Which books are must-reads for anybody working in the tech industry and digital ecosystem or working on the digital transformation of a traditional company?

For my favorite books, well, I love SF. In the sense that I find that one finds all the aspects of reflections as much from historical points of view (the future is often only the reflection of our past), socio-economic visions, …, with … a NO LIMIT imagination! And I love it! So I like a lot of science fiction writers. And to quote only one, I would say: Philip K. Dick, for his view of the future and the truly exceptional humanity analyzes, which lead to reflect on the functioning of human nature. In fact, let’s remember the movie Blade Runner (based on the Philip K. Dick book : « Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? ») , which I warmly advise if you have not seen it yet, so remember its amazing climax scene where the totally human-shaped robot saves the life of Harrison Ford who … was charged to destroy him under the orders of human society frightened by the too strong intellectual development of these kind of robots … you see, the current fear of robots has been at the heart of the SF for a long time 😉

Do you have any tech gadgets that make your day-to-day life easier or more fun?

I recommend the connected paper drone plane « Power Up »!! The plane is actually made with paper, controlled with a mobile application and then … it flies without stopping! Just magic! It’s useless, just for fun!

Link to Power-Up in FranceUSSpain and Germany.

Also the « IPin Spatial Ruler » : connected to your smartphone you can measure things with his its laser distance meter. (Link to IPIN Spatial Ruler in FranceUS and Germany

Also, The « TouchJet Pond », a totally independent very tiny projector that transforms any surface into a giant touch screen! Like it ! (Link to the Touchjed Pond Projector in USSpain and Germany

And obviously the funny « ShiftWear Shoes », fully customized straight from your smartphone, just to be as cool as Marty McFly in Back to the future! 

Thanks Pierre. Robin 

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