“There’s a revolution in what companies can do”: Box CEO Aaron Levie on why the new AI age could bring in a golden age — for content

“There’s a revolution in what companies can do”: Box CEO Aaron Levie on why the new AI age could bring in a golden age — for content

With AI tools now becoming a common sight in many businesses, the drive is now on to ensure these services are as useful and intuitive for users everywhere.

Box has grabbed this opportunity with a number of recent high-profile releases and initiatives, and the company was in a bullish mood at its recent AI Disrupt event in London.

TechRadar Pro got to hear from Box founder and CEO Aaron Levie about both his view, and the company’s plans to ensure that businesses of all sizes are able to get the most out of their content by utilizing its AI platform.

“An incredible moment”

“We sit at the center of this incredible moment in technology,” Levie declared during his keynote speech at the event, “when we think about how work is changing, it literally has never changed more than what we’re experiencing right now, given the state of AI.”

“AI is fundamentally transforming everything about how we work today – it is at the center of where we are going to be doing most of our important work going forward.”

Levie described Box’s mission as no less than powering “how the world works together”, and with a customer base numbering over 115,000 companies and over two-thirds of the Fortune 500, it is in a good position to do so.

Levie’s argument is that the journey of AI has evolved from basic narrow tasks such as auto-complete on a phone, to GPT3 and ChatGPT models performing more general tasks for a single role, to where we are now, where the technology is able to carry out specialized tasks at a massive scale across a business.

(Image credit: Box)

At the heart of this advance is data – specifically what Box defines as “content” – anything from a PDF file to an image to a word document, anything that can be used to teach an AI model about what your business really does.

Levie expands on this in a later media session, noting, “your content kind of becomes the digital memory of your company” that can be used to help your company progress.

“We’re so early in this trend that everybody, I think, is trying to figure out their own way of thinking about the problem from an architectural standpoint, from a systems standpoint…as there are a lot of paradigms to focus on,” he adds.

Box estimates that 90% of data within a business is “unstructured” – with the vast majority of this being content – but the business value of this data is going untapped. This is where AI comes in, carrying out tasks such as generating insights, creating document summaries, extracting new conclusions, and automating workflows, freeing up employees to do more with their time.

“Everything about how work happens comes down to how we work with our content,” Levie stated, “how we manage our information, and how we enable information across the enterprise as productive as possible.”

He later tells us in a media session that “drudgery work” will be the first victim of this new wave of productivity – whether that’s spending all day following up on emails, or carrying out manual research tasks.

“When we think about our strategy at Box,” Levie adds, “what we imagine is – what if every employee in an organization had an expert in basically any type of area or domain of work, and they had access to that expert, and that expert worked about a thousand times faster than any human?”

And despite some concerns that AI might lead to a drop-off in content creation, harming human productivity as we know it, Levie argues the opposite might actually be true – particularly in a work environment, where AI needs to learn and be challenged.

“If anything, AI might be the single biggest reason why content continues to get created in perpetuity,” he says, “you need something that is a portable information format that you can move between systems and let AI talk to.”

“AI for us is about the most expansive change that we ever could have imagined for content,” he adds.”

Box CEO Aaron Levie AI Disrupt

(Image credit: Box)

With many businesses currently utilizing legacy content management systems that just aren’t capable of dealing with the amount of data generated by this new AI age, Box is hoping to step into the breach.

“Today’s technologies are holding you back,” Levie says, noting that content is often fragmented across a wide variety of platforms and systems, making it harder to analyze and gain valuable insights from, “they just will not work with the level or scale of information we have, or be able to actually bring AI to these types of data sets.”

“We think there’s a revolution in what companies can do with their content,” he later adds, “and our job is to make sure that Box is the de facto platform for intelligent content management, so when you think about, how do I bring AI to my information, we need to be the single platform that delivers that.”

“When you think about all the potential that we have to bring AI to our data, to bring AI to our content,” Levie concludes, “we think there’s a new era that we’re entering – an era of intelligent content management.”


Mike Moore

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