Belén Garijo: This old mechanical calculator illustrates two things about how we should think about Generative AI today
24/10/2023 16:02

Belén Garijo: This old mechanical calculator illustrates two things about how we should think about Generative AI today

Belén Garijo shared on LinkedIn:

“For 355 years, Merck Group has pushed the boundaries of human progress with the best available technologies. In the late 1800s, the best data technology was mechanical calculators like this one, which could add, subtract, divide, and multiply complex numbers. It was revolutionary for its time, in much the same way that Generative AI is now.

For me, this mechanical calculator illustrates two things about how we should think about Generative AI today. 

First, state-of-the-art technology like AI must be made available to your employees in a secure and timely manner to avoid over-reliance on yesterday´s technologies. That´s why we were one of the first organizations to make our own GPT chat tool available to staff from June this year. We´re also embedding digital tools and data ecosystems into every part of our organization. Our use of digital twins, machine learning, advanced analytics, smart manufacturing, and other modern techniques are helping us move faster, predict better, and execute efficiently.

Second, there is no point investing in the latest AI technologies unless your people have the right skills and mindset. Otherwise, you might as well still be using old mechanical calculators! You will only remain ahead of the curve by building a rich data-driven culture where your people are fully trained and empowered.

If you want to take your organization on a digital transformation journey, then it requires leadership from the very top. Just last week, the Merck leadership team joined our data and digital experts to review how we can become more efficient using generative AI.

All of us should be open to learning how to consciously create, share, and use data. There are tremendous opportunities to save time and resources to better prioritize the things that matter most.

Data literacy is a topic for everyone, regardless of background or function. At Merck, several thousand colleagues now use our data platforms every week. Most are not IT engineers or data scientists but staff in all areas of our business, such as customer support, finance, supply chain management, and R&D.

Thanks to this data-driven culture and the full engagement of our people, we are well-positioned to become a leading player in digital and AI across our business sectors.

Let´s continue to build momentum. There is no going back to the technologies of yesterday. “

Source: Belén Garijo/LinkedIn

Belén Garijo is the Chair of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. She joined the company in 2011 as Chief Operating Officer of the Biopharma business, becoming President and CEO of Healthcare in 2015. In July 2020, Belén Garijo was appointed Vice Chairman of the Executive Board and Deputy CEO in addition to her role as CEO of the Healthcare business. She moved from Deputy CEO to CEO in May 2021. Under her leadership, Healthcare at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has become a key player in the area of oncology, immunology and immuno-oncology, after the profound repositioning of the portfolio, the reorganization of R&D and the transformation of the commercial model. Before joining Merck, Belén Garijo served as the Senior Vice President of Global Operations Europe at Sanofi-Aventis and Global Integration Leader of Genzyme after its acquisition by Sanofi. She previously held several local and global executive positions, both in R&D and commercial, at various companies at the forefront of the Healthcare sector. She started her career as a practicing physician at La Paz hospital in Madrid before moving to the pharmaceutical industry. She is a medical doctor, specialized in clinical pharmacology.