Claudia Pohlink, Head of Artificial Intelligence @Deutsche Telekom on trending topics in the AI sector

Marc-David Rompf - 13. March 2020

“Provide talents with challenges that will empower them to make a positive difference – as in energy conservation, Co2 reduction or cybersecurity.“

Foto Credit: Royal New Zealand Navy via Flickr

What are the new developments in the AI sector that influence the recruitment of much sought-after specialists and talents? Three questions for Claudia Pohlink, Head of Artificial Intelligence @T-Labs-Telekom Innovation Laboratories.

dla: What is your assessment of the brain drain mostly caused by American tech corporations?

Claudia Pohlink: There are many companies out there in hot pursuit of AI experts, not just the U.S. tech corporations. Here in Berlin, for example, we have a number of startups as well as corporate laboratories like the Telekom Innovation Laboratories, where AI research and development is also being conducted at the highest levels. A lot of these activities are not going on behind closed doors, but involve exchanges within the AI community. So this includes corporations, startups, universities and research institutions – and naturally we are also in dialogue with technology corporations like IBM and Google on many topics.

In this context, what is paramount for me is that we invest more in the training of appropriate profiles in Germany – data science/AI vocational training, degree programs, research support, etc. are necessary to make sure that we will have suitable talents locally.

dla: What strategies and measures are companies harnessing to sign high potential AI experts?

Claudia Pohlink: In my opinion, the actual tasks are far more important than frills like free fruit, foosball and other perks. If you task talents with demanding challenges that will also deliver decidedly positive effects – in areas such as energy saving, Co 2 reduction, traffic optimization, cybersecurity – then you’ll find talented people knocking on your door. If they are then given ample latitude to devise creative solutions to problems, explore new methods and create visible improvements together with the specialist departments – all of this will be motivating over the long term.

What is the long-term vision for AI in companies?“

In this context, it is also evident today that it’s not only the major U.S. corporations, but also many German corporate laboratories that are offering attractive working environments. In addition to the monetary and non-monetary aspects, our T-Labs, for example, create an innovative environment in which our experts can work on the application of advanced, cutting-edge technology for the future of telecommunications in Germany and Europe. This offers a lot of space for the best minds to advance and shape developments in the upcoming years.

dla: There are ten minutes left in the interview for a decision-maker position – what’s the question I should definitely ask as an AI talent?

Claudia Pohlink: Which use cases have been implemented, what is work currently focusing on? How are new use cases defined – and what does a typical project look like in the interaction between R&D and business units? What is the long-term vision for AI in the company and what are the medium-term focus areas geared to achieving this vision?

Claudia Pohlink is Head of Artificial Intelligence @T-Labs – Telekom Innovation Laboratories. . Her team focuses on the application of AI methods such as machine learning as well as quantum computing.

At dla digital leaders advisory Marc David Rompf specializes in filling top management positions in business professional services companies.