Xiaojun Huang: A genuine search for artificial intelligence

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Leading a digital transformation of any business requires a deep understanding of what you’re trying to transform and the tools available to you.

At ExxonMobil, I am fortunate to help spearhead a digital transformation of the company’s underground prediction methods. It’s an ambitious undertaking that will marry cutting-edge solutions – like artificial intelligence, big data and cloud technology – with our current capabilities to find tomorrow’s energy.

Two areas – technology and business – sit at the crossroads of how I’ve spent my 16 years here, making me truly excited to see what we can develop for the next 16 years. It is my background in seismic interpretation, bore-hole acoustics, machine learning and large-scale computing that allows me to understand how artificial intelligence and big data can drive better insights under the surface of the earth.

For example, big data and machine learning could help us identify the safest locations to position drilling pads, by analysing seismic imagery to identify hazards, or fracture zones far beneath the surface. We could then use that information to determine the best surface site for drilling, a location away from challenging rock conditions far below.

All of this allows us to make faster decisions, without human bias, and frees our scientists and engineers to focus on solving complex problems, instead of performing labour-intensive data manipulation.

This is ambitious. But we are lucky to be surrounded by a supportive and dynamic team, as well as external partners like Google, IBM, Amazon and Microsoft, whom we continuously challenge to deliver the disruptive solutions we seek.

I am passionate about how AI, big data and cloud technology can transform our operations, but in order to fully realise that, we need diversity of talent.

I was truly honoured to be named one of the 40 Women Business Pioneers in Artificial Intelligence by IBM this year. Earlier this summer, I was able to join a diverse group of recipients to share our experiences, expand our network and help chart a path of AI futurists. We may look different, come from different backgrounds and speak different languages, but we each share a common drive to usher AI into our workplace.

What is exciting about this path is finding out what’s possible every day.

Tags:   artificial intelligencebig datacloud technologyXiaojun Huang
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