Think 2018

Think 2018 Day 2: Let’s put smart to work

Share this post:

Day two of Think 2018 was packed with world-changing speakers and exciting news. Sessions ranged from the Chairman’s Address and groundbreaking announcements with partners and clients like Apple and HARMAN, to innovative keynotes and insightful stories from marquee speakers like Dr. Michio Kaku and Lisa Ling. Bridging industries and professions, the value and benefits discussed were as diverse as the technologies and solutions used to achieve them.


Quick links

Top 5 highlights from Day 2
Day 3 preview


Top 5 highlights from Day 2

1. Chairman’s Address

Technology today is smart, but is smart enough? Chairman, President, and CEO of IBM Ginni Rometty urges us all to put smart to work, an inspiring new mantra for IBM. She discussed how we are now at a pivotal moment — an inflection point for business, society, and all of IBM.

It’s a new battlefield, where we all must think about going on the offense, and many can win. “The answer is the data,” Ginni shared, advising attendees to learn exponentially, and make learning part of every part of your business. “If you learn exponentially, you become the disruptor.” IBM believes that clients will seize this moment, be the incumbent disruptors, and benefit from the exponential rate of change.

She told clients that to win, you must:

  1. Leverage digital platforms.
  2. Embed learning in every process.
  3. Empower people with all forms of digital intelligence.

IBM is focused on helping to augment the relationship between man and machine. She told us, “Our business model is not in conflict with your business model.” IBM is partnering with some of the most innovative global leaders to move us all forward into the new era of man + machine, an era of data and AI.

She then welcomed Lowell McAdam, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Verizon, to the stage. “The plan for fifth generation technology will usher in the fourth industrial revolution,” Lowell predicted. The main topic of discussion was Verizon’s 5G and its potential to transform global business. “There’s not one industry that won’t be hugely disrupted.” Michael White, CEO-designate, IBM-Maersk Joint Venture, then joined Ginni in a conversation about this critical partnership and its efforts to transform industries with the help of blockchain technologies. “Blockchain will do for trust and transactions what the internet did for information,” Ginni said, as they discussed what’s next for the partnership, the industry, and the technology. She then greeted Dave McKay, President and CEO of the hugely successful Royal Bank of Canada, as they talked about how his organization is winning with data and putting Watson to work for exceptional client experiences.

“Our best bet is you,” she told the audience before she left to collect the Catalyst Award, a prestigious award for diversity, on behalf of IBM for the fourth time. “Make inclusion important,” she stressed, and clearly she’s following her own advice. Now it’s time for the rest of us to do the same. “Let’s put smart to work.”

Watch the Chairman’s Address on demand

Read more about IBM’s biggest announcements

2. IBM in the News

Today at Think 2018, IBM made a number of announcements that tie directly into putting smart to work on a cloud built for business.

From the IBM News Room: “Right now, leading brands are joining us to bring Watson Assistant into our daily lives. This includes HARMAN, which at Think 2018 is demonstrating Watson Assistant in its digital cockpit solution featured in a Maserati GranCabrio. HARMAN is joined by Airwire, Munich Airport, Kaon Media, The Royal Bank of Scotland and our newest partner, IFTTT, all of which are turning to Watson Assistant to better engage their customers.”
How Watson Assistant Helps You Treat Customers Like VIPs

20180320112835 2340 IBM THINK 2018 KEYNOTE JOURNEY TO AI PA David Kenny

Find out about IBM’s extended partnership with Apple, as reported by TechCrunch.
Apple, IBM add machine learning to partnership with Watson-Core ML coupling

Learn about the new additions to the IBM Cloud Hyper Protect family, the first cloud services with mainframe-level data protection, and how IBM is accelerating AI with POWER9 on the IBM Cloud in this thorough explanation — Bringing Sophisticated Security and AI to the IBM Cloud — from the IBM News Room.

Follow our news team for all the latest announcements.
IBM News Room

3. Your journey to AI on a cloud built for business begins here

The keynote immediately following the Chairman’s Address was the “The Journey to AI,” hosted by IBM’s Dr. John Kelly and David Kenny, featuring an impressive slate of guests: Gary M. Reedy from the American Cancer Society; Craig B. Thompson from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; Jensen Huang from NVIDIA; Aaron Levie from Box; André Coisne from Orange Bank; and Barbry McGann from Workday.

Dr. John Kelly talked about how Watson will change the world in ways we can only imagine. He talked about how we know that data is doubling every 12 – 18 months and that our challenge is to extract knowledge and insights from that data.

20180320105046 2942 IBM THINK 2018 KEYNOTE JOURNEY TO AI PA Jensen Huang

We continued the journey in the afternoon with IBM’s David Kenny, Arvind Krishna, and Martin Jetter who were joined by three IBM clients whose stories demonstrated the flexibility and scalability of IBM Cloud.

Maya Leibman of American Airlines, Walkiria Marchetti of Bradesco, and Alice Keung of Economical Insurance each touched on three key factors that made IBM Cloud the perfect fit for them:

  • It’s built for all applications.
  • It’s AI-ready.
  • It’s secure to the core.

IBM’s prime directive for more than a century has been to help their clients innovate as they move from one era to another. And that’s precisely what they’re doing now with the IBM Cloud.


4. Power in Progress

On March 8, the global community celebrated International Women’s Day — focusing on the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women around the world. To keep the momentum going all month, Think 2018 introduced Power in Progress: Let’s Make This Moment Matter — an event in honor of all the high-achieving women all around us here at the conference. While this is a time to honor the contributions of women, our speakers also focused on unity, equality, and advocacy. As professionals in business, we are at a crucial moment in the advancement of diversity. It is our time to create a culture that instinctively values every individual, to draw strength from our great diversity, and to not only press for progress but to achieve it.

“You can’t be what you can’t see.” A video featuring IBM leaders, beginning with Ginni Rometty, introduced this series of speakers and special spotlight on inclusion in the workplace. “Let’s make this moment matter” was emblazoned across the screens behind SVP & CMO of IBM Michelle Peluso as she took the stage.

She then introduced Dr. Patti Fletcher of SAP who told stories about growing up with her Armenian grandmother and how fascinated she was with her extraordinary life. “It’s a cultural transformation, not a change in what we do, but a change in how we do it,” Patti said, as she emphasized our need to shift focus to changing systems to support equality. Her mission is to change the way we view women leaders and the way they view themselves. Marie Wieck, General Manager of IBM Blockchain, then took the stage with Leanne Kemp, Founder and CEO of Everledger, to dive a bit deeper into what the career path for women could, should, and will be as diversity and inclusion are prioritized. About her success, Leanne said, “I didn’t listen to the little voices in my head.” Key takeaways from this discussion: Ask for help, don’t be afraid of rejection, and build a team with complementary skill sets you need.

Gender differences in the workplace were further discussed by Jeffrey Halter of Y Women. He encouraged women to find allies all around, those he called “ready now men.” “It’s time to stop asking women to lean in and start asking men to stand up,” Jeffrey told us, which was met by resounding applause. It’s proven that adding women to business drives results, and Jeffrey coaches men to help empower women in their organizations.

Common themes included the stigma and misgivings around the word “feminism” and evolving our models of business to be more conducive to preparing women for, and welcoming them into, leadership roles. The speaker series was followed by a reception where women — and, those Jeffrey would call “ready now men” — gathered to continue this important conversation.

5. Inspiring sessions

Big Bets in Infrastructure Innovation
At the keynote for Modern Infrastructure, we heard from Tom Rosamilia, Senior Vice President for IBM Systems, and learned how IBM is betting on breakthrough technologies through IBM Z. With its abilities to encrypt 100% of application data and process 12 billion encrypted transactions per day, this is one system that can certainly help leading enterprises put smart to work. Staggering stats included the fact that 58% of enterprises had at least one security breach in the last 12 months. It’s no wonder why global tech leaders are investing in pervasive encryption to focus on creating a modern and secure enterprise.

Global Realities and Societal Resiliency with Lisa Ling
Lisa Ling, Executive Producer & Host of CNN’s This is Life with Lisa Ling, shared a mix of engaging stories that reflected the humanity and empathy that have made her a resounding success in her 25-year career in investigative journalism. She spent time in Tehran, meeting young people and women in the streets who wanted to know about America and told her how they craved freedom. She’s spoken with women who were victims of human trafficking and noted how IBM is helping apply technology to shed light on this dark and surprisingly thriving criminal industry. She spent time in North Korea getting to see the humanity behind its restrictive curtain. All these stories and more were shared with a call for all of us to take off the tinted lenses of our American-style glasses and see the world for what it is, the cultures and the people that are not like our own. Lisa told us how she’s spent her career trying to propel and provoke people to think, much like IBM.

The Knowledge of Nature and the Nature of Knowledge with Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson
There was a full house in the Modern Infrastructure Campus for beloved scientist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History and Host of COSMOS: A Space Time Odyssey.
Using examples drawn from life and from the universe, his talk explored how we know what is objectively true in the world and what the practical and philosophical limits are on those truths. This exploration of why understanding the nature of what is true paralleled the power to profoundly influence decisions one makes in life. “If a princess is singing about frozen fractals, then there is hope in this world,” he jokingly shared as he mused optimistically about the effect of science on popular culture. He’s certainly been a champion for science in America, as evidenced by the energy of his highly engaged and adoring audience.

The Scientific Future with Dr. Michio Kaku
In Dr. Michio Kaku’s Innovation Talk, he offered a stunning and provocative vision of the future. From digitizing the human body to the colonization of Mars, Dr. Kaku explored the technologies that he believes will have profound effects on human life in the next century: artificial intelligence, neural networks, brain-computer interfaces, and quantum computing.


Preview for tomorrow, March 21

Blockchain, cloud, and quantum computing are accelerating the power of computing and progressing the way we do business. Discover how emerging technologies today are quickly redefining the world of tomorrow. Learn from the unique perspectives and inspiring stories of Sal Khan, Wade Davis, and Tanmay Bakshi.

Now Being Served: Bringing Speed, Trust and Transparency to Business Networks with Blockchain

8:30 AM PT

Join the Blockchain keynote and listen to first movers working with their industry and partners to bring trust, efficiency, and transparency to their ecosystems. Hear how they got started and the technology, expertise, and ecosystem required to create production networks providing business value. Learn about best practices to build a blockchain for business and how to get started with your business network today.

Beyond Infrastructure: Architecting the One Platform for Smarter Business

12:30 PM PT

Whether you’re ready to modernize existing applications to run on cloud, optimize your data portfolio strategy, require management of your multi-cloud or hybrid environments, or explore how the combination of data and AI can augment decision-making across the enterprise, join this session to see how the IBM Cloud can meet you there.

From Sci-fi to Reality: Quantum Computing is Here

11:30 AM PT

IBM Director of Research Arvind Krishna will describe how quantum computers have become a reality at IBM. He’ll discuss what companies are doing to become “quantum ready” for a new era of computing. He’ll also present the roadmap for IBM Q, the first commercial quantum program that is expected to deliver powerful results for businesses within a few years.

Tanmay Bakshi – Deep Learning to Save Young Lives

12:30 PM PT

Growing public attention places a spotlight on mental health issues, particularly in the young population. Tanmay Bakshi, Watson’s youngest AI developer, is leveraging cutting edge AI technology to diagnose early stage depression in youth. Bakshi describes his latest ambitious project, powered by deep learning, targeted at preventing teen suicide.

Sal Khan – Education Reimagined

1:30 PM PT

Sal Khan never intended to be an education icon. However, what started as his passion project –sharing educational videos online- eventually grew into a global digital phenomenon reaching tens of millions of eager learners. Hear how the Khan Academy has grown to a powerful voice that is moving the dial in free, world-class education to “anyone, anywhere.”

20180319090855 0691 IBM THINK 2018 THINK ACADEMY & DEV ZONE JG





We can’t wait to show you Think 2018

Watch Think 2018 on demand and learn all about the ways your business can put smart to work. We hope you enjoy the keynotes, interviews, and sessions, and we can’t wait to see you in San Francisco in 2019!


Senior Copywriter

Zach Brink

Audience Engagement Writer and Editor

More Think 2018 stories

Cognitive BPO is the new engine of innovation

We are living in a new business era, driven by exponential data growth and disruptive technologies like automation, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), and blockchain. IBM calls this the era of the Cognitive Enterprise. Many companies are already adapting to this changing world, but there’s still significant opportunity to do more. In […]

Continue reading

Conquer the data mountain at Data Natives Conference 2018

Data is a living mountain that can only get higher and higher, as more and more of it is collected and amassed. So, how do you climb that mountain and what type of gear do you we need to scale its dizzying heights?   Lost in data? There are times when participants in the adventure […]

Continue reading

Getting the most out of InnerCircle at Think 2019

We hope you will join us at InnerCircle for a futures view at Think 2019. Here are a few things you need to know and how to get the most out of your experience regardless of whether you are an InnerCircle veteran or new to the program. InnerCircle is an invitation-only loyalty event for clients […]

Continue reading