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WiCT Wednesdays: Bridget Karlin

The WiCT award winner discusses leveraging AI as a disruptor and inspiring others

Bridget Karlin, Global CTO and VP, IBM GTS Technology—Innovation and Automation, was recently awarded the Women in Consumer Technology (WiCT) Legacy Award.

Below, Karlin discusses leveraging AI as a disruptor and inspiring others.

How did you get your start in the CT industry?

I started at 16 years old, working at a summer job for a small company that made transistors. This sparked my interest to understanding uses cases, and I wondered if we could expand what we built by looking at the related components.

Fast forward to beginning of my career in banking—an industry that continues to be an early adopter of new technology and helps establish a closer relationship with its consumers. After a few years in banking, I was responsible for defining new products that leveraged advanced technology, which cultivated my entrepreneurial spirit. I jumped out to start my own software company where I built an integrated solution using mobile technology for the distribution industry—clients included Nestle, 7Up, Keebler, Anheuser-Busch, and others—running in 43 countries ensuring that products were on the shelf when consumers wanted them.

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When I moved to Intel, my focus was on understanding the impact of technology—not just for the problems it could solve, but for the experiences it could make possible. At the company, I ran the hybrid Cloud business, and then the Internet of Things strategy and platform group, connecting devices to the Cloud for enabling higher value to the consumer.

Now at IBM, I am leveraging advanced technology such as AI, Cloud, security, blockchain, and automation to enable new service capabilities to our enterprise clients so that they deliver a higher value to their consumers.

What is your goal at CES 2019?

I am looking forward to seeing all the new innovations that the exhibitors showcase, learning about new applications, use cases, and success stories, and participating in the panels and sessions. In particular, I’m interested in seeing new innovations using AI across all technology and industry segments, and where compelling AI-based products and services are disrupting traditional vendors.

What do you believe will dominate the tech conversation in 2019?

I believe that the transformation to digitization will continue to dominate conversations. With an ever-increasing movement to Cloud platforms and adoption of technologies like AI and Blockchain, the transformation journey is starting to accelerate and will continue to evolve. Open-source-driven AI-based technologies in hybrid, multi-cloud environments will continue to drive advanced automation and innovation throughout the ecosystem.

How do you hope to inspire the next generation of women in tech?

The tech industry has continued to evolve. Women are leading businesses in the industry from all levels of management. Our daughters are able to see their mothers, aunts, sisters grow up in a world where opportunities are not constrained by who you are, but by what you know, the skills you can bring, and the contribution you can make. I hope to inspire women of all ages—in every corner of the globe—to act on their ideas, teach themselves new skills, and to embrace the opportunities that technology enables. If there is one key message I have for the next generation of women in tech, it’s to allow yourself to make mistakes, but to recover quickly. No more agonizing over what went wrong, just learn what you can and keep going.