AI Will Disrupt the Workforce. Does That Make Andrew Yang Right About UBI?

Posted by Arun Shastri on Thu, Aug 01, 2019

A businessman turned politician calls for insurance against job losses in a quickly changing America. His own experience in business pits him against an indifferent Washington, D.C., as he becomes the lone voice of a single issue. Eventually, he decides to run for president. Who is this man? Jacob Coxey.


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AI & Pharma: Start Small But Think Big

Posted by Arun Shastri on Wed, Jul 24, 2019

This blog post is the first in a series on the impact that AI will have on different business aspects of pharma.

AI has been here for many decades, but the buzz around this latest wave of AI is louder than any I can remember. You can find articles about AI in every publication and medium. These articles deal mostly with broad themes, rarely delving into how AI might be applied in our work lives. There are plenty of stories about self-driving cars and the latest human expert to be outwitted by an algorithm. But what about the unsexy business that most of us find ourselves in? How can we apply AI to improve customer interactions, maximize product launches, optimize clinical trial operations, or find patient insights?


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Want Reliable Advice? Consider Machines

Posted by Arun Shastri on Mon, Jun 17, 2019

An old story about Jeff Bezos that I read years ago resurfaced in my memory when I learned that Amazon just abruptly changed course and decided to shutter its restaurant delivery business. According to the teller of this tale, Bezos once visited Basecamp to give a talk and take questions from employees there. At one point, Bezos described the kind of people who are “right a lot.” The smartest people, he said, are always revising their thinking. They might think one thing today that they’ll readily contradict tomorrow because they have new data to support a new opinion.

Other luminaries have shared this opinion. Science fiction author Vernor Vinge, in his book Fire Upon the Deep, wrote “Intelligence is the handmaiden of flexibility and change.” Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff was quoted as saying, “You must always be able to predict what's next and then have the flexibility to evolve.”

I wholeheartedly agree with this line of reasoning, and I see direct connections to machine learning.


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Veeva Summit 2019: How AI and Customer-First Strategies Help Sales and Marketing Teams Stay Ahead of the Curve

Posted by Omer Hancer on Wed, May 22, 2019

Today, successful pharma outreach requires a customer-first mindset. This includes personalizing both content and channels, sending content at the right time and in the right channel to match customers’ levels of interest, adapting to physician reactions and humanizing AI sales and marketing suggestions for the rep so they understand why a suggested next best action is made. According to ZS research, personalization has resulted in a 20% increase in open rates for both marketing and rep-triggered emails and up to a 30% uplift in impactable sales.


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Has AI Reached Peak Hype?

Posted by Arun Shastri on Wed, May 08, 2019

Pratap Khedkar co-wrote this blog post with Arun Shastri.

At The Wall Street Journal Health Forum, held in Washington D.C. on April 30, Novartis Chief Executive Vas Narasimhan called artificial intelligence “another tool in the toolbox.” This viewpoint diverges from recent notions that AI is a critical capability that’s going to change the way that pharma companies do business. In fact, industry experts have hoped that the dwindling return on investments for R&D (the current 3% ROI is predicted to hit 0% by 2020) could be reversed by employing AI-based technologies in drug discovery. There are more than 100 AI startups in this field that have received generous investments from venture capital. Yet, IBM has discontinued sales of its Watson AI system for drug discovery.


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