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Q&A with Kevin Surace

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Kevin Surace, Keynote Speaker, TED and TEDx speaker

How could you describe your career path in a few words?


I began in consumer electronics retail while in college earning a technical degree (Rochester Institute of technology). After which I moved to Silicon Valley and started in semiconductors, then systems and software companies. I founded my first venture funded company at 29 years old and have been a CEO or CTO ever since. My core philosophy is to identify pain points and audiences who will pay to solve them. When you do that, you know you will (eventually) have a strong market fit. Today I have 94 worldwide patents (including the core technologies used in all virtual assistants) and have served on some 30 boards. Today I do about 40 keynote talks a year for companies and conferences around the world, mostly on the impact of AI to their organizations or fields.

What are the highlights of the key digital innovation trends for 2023? Can you give us some major examples?


Without question the broader availability of AI. Digital transformation is a topic in most all companies today. And that includes AI, cloud, IOT, data alignment and analysis and so on. But now it’s becoming much easier to see 55% productivity improvement in coders for example, 98% productivity improvement using AI to find bugs in software, and 90% productivity improvement in some marketing tasks including content generation. Sales is next – training new salespeople and using AI hints to guide salespeople to a close. In time artificial salespeople that can close deals without human involvement is a reasonable future direction. How the buyer will respond is another issue…but we are heading to a time where we will test these ideas. Customer service is undergoing a transformation with well-educated chatbots becoming the norm. AI is truly “amplified intelligence” as Reid Hoffman recently stated. One person can do the work of 2 or 3 or maybe even 100 people for certain tasks. It’s a game changer for all companies who embrace it.



Based on your experiences, what are the impactful trends in digital innovation that are becoming more important in the context of the next several years?


We will see AI integrated into all our work life and in time our life at home as well. We already have had Alexa and Siri and others…so we know what a basic level assistant can be. Now multiply that by an oder of magnitude and that’s where we are heading. Trends analysis, forecasting, sales, marketing, software development and QA, finance, customer segmentation and targeting. Every aspect of every business or government organization. We have seen overall digital transformation bring insights and productivity improvements over the last several years. With large language models such as ChatGPT, we now have tools as powerful for language as Excel was for math and accounting. I cannot think of another time where a technology comes along and fundamentally changes how we work since the internet in the late 1990s and before that the PC itself. Companies that don’t embrace this with a fervor will be left out of the productivity impact. And fall behind competitors who do.

In your opinion, how can they create high value for organizations?


Hiring more people is the way we used to grow. We all want to double the size of our company over the next 3,5 10 years. Just hire more people. Except there are no more people to hire. The US has some 9M unfilled job openings right now. In all my keynotes I hear from every audience in every industry that they are having a difficult time finding qualified people. But that has become a real challenge with a labor shortage in most industries. If you want to double the revenue in your company over the coming years, you will do that with AI. You HAVE to do it with AI, there is no real alternative. Ai allows your existing employees to improve their productivity dramatically. Look at marketing content for example. A writer of a blog post used to take many hours to create and edit that post before handing it off. Now, with a few prompts, they can have a large language model write it to their specs in one minute and then take 10 minutes to edit it. And the technology is accessible enough to embrace today and show an impact within days or weeks.


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