Xiaojun and her team are using AI to create a CT-like scan of inner earth. This will help ExxonMobil target drilling investments on the most promising opportunities, adding speed and precision, and minimizing human biases. The current project focuses on deep-water drilling off the coast of Guyana.

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What are you looking to achieve with AI?
We are at the early stages of transforming our work processes. Our goal is to allow our domain experts to focus on what they’re good at, augmented with AI. The project allows for much more efficient and collaborative planning for Guyana deep water development wells. Ultimately, that will lead to an ever-safer operation and steep improvements in efficiency and profitability.

What are some key things that you’ve learned?
We need to change the way we approach our business processes and partnership. Transformation is not about moving every piece of data to the cloud, it is rather about re-imagining work processes inside out through the lenses of the art of possibility with all digital technologies, with a focus on business objectives. Digital transformation requires agility and speed. We established our collaboration agreement with IBM, put together the team in a month, and delivered the minimum viable product to the Guyana team in 10 months.

What do you wish you knew when you first started with your work with AI?
We need to have empowered digital champions to help transform a large organization. Understanding both the business and AI, these champions can connect business with solutions, advocate principles and value for change, and act as conduit between the organization and external innovations. I strongly advise that key business champions to get their feet wet on AI.

What advice would you give to the next generation of women as they enter the workforce?
Be brutally honest with yourself about your strength, passion and areas for improvement. Follow your heart, work hard, learn fast and be curious.

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