Page 32 - Food & Drink March 2020
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Enabling people and process
Artificial Intelligence (AI) specialist company Complexica works with some of Australia’s largest food and beverage companies on improving their business processes. CEO Matt Michalewicz talks to Kim Berry about how AI is much more than just an algorithm.
WHEN Matt Michalewicz launched Complexica in 2014, his first two clients were in the food and beverage sector.
He told Food & Drink Business: “We all eat and most of us drink, so it is about products we have a first-hand appreciation of.
“With PFD Foods and Liquor Marketing Group, we were working with passionate people. It was personally and professionally satisfying.”
Since then the company has worked with Lion, Metcash, Pernod Ricard Winemakers (PRW) and most recently, Australia’s largest fresh produce company Costa Group.
AI has been part of Michalewicz’s life since childhood. “My father was an AI scientist in the early 1980s. He
wrote about forty books and hundreds of publications on the subject. I grew up in a household where AI was the vernacular.”
He is astounded to see the hype around AI and how many companies have been created to capitalise on its rise.
Ignorance, misinformation, and misunderstandings are still an issue, he says. Many senior executives and board members are not well versed in what it is, but think they need to be “doing something in AI”.
“In all our years of experience we found that to deliver AI-based technology successfully the first rule is to make sure AI is really the right technology to solve the problem you’re trying to solve.
“You always want to solve a problem in the simplest and most cost-effective manner.
“My father used to say, ‘If you’ve only got a hammer, then everything looks like a nail’.”
Once a company realises AI is not a blanket solution, a more effective strategy can be developed. Michalewicz says there are three parts to delivering technology.
Classical software engineering capabilities like security protocols and putting things in the cloud are first. AI is a separate science discipline.
“You have to employ scientists that understand your networks, or understand genetic algorithms, or advanced statistics and how to blend it with the AI method.
“The third is domain expertise on the industry and problem you’re working on.
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