Iskender Dirik: Artificial intelligence will solve problems. Do not succeed.

24. July 2018 – Katharina Schlangenotto

It’s not easy. For none of us. After all, we are human and humans have these tricky little things called emotions. We also deal with fears. We imagine terrible scenarios in which we are replaced by machines taking our jobs and lives. Scenarios in which we are unemployed, because the supposedly evil “artificial intelligence” simply clears us out of the way.

But let’s be honest: aren’t we, just a little bit, overreacting? Fact is probably this: althe Artificial Intelligence, abbreviated “AI” is already happening. It is surrounding us every second, minute and day. It is packed in pretty voices like Alexa or Siri, which are already part of our world. Navigation systems talk to us and we are happy when they show us the right way without getting lost. We also like it when they are learning just like we do. We are also happy if we do not speak a language well enough and a translation system which is increasingly improving helps us to communicate professionally. Is there a little bit of truth in this?

We have to admit that many things in our everyday lives would be quite different if artificial intelligence would not yet exist. Many things would be far less easy. In many ways, it pays a big contribution.

Iskender Dirik is MD at Microsoft ScaleUp in Berlin, a worldwide Microsoft program for innovative tech startups. He is also a Venture Partner at EQT Ventures, one of the largest VC funds in Europe. Iskender has founded several startups, set up big data and machine learning technologies for large corporations, and advised DAX companies on online marketing. His hobby is currently the big topic AI. He finds out how artificial intelligence will change marketing and how companies can prepare for the future.

He doesn’t share the great worry that AI eats up jobs so that in the end, nothing remains for us humans. On the contrary, his view of the future with AI is a very realistic one: as in the days of industrialization, there will be jobs that will be eliminated because they can be done by machines easier, faster and with less mistakes. These includ very manual and repetitive activities in marketing. “These are assembly line jobs that we have already rationalized away in the industry,” he says. The positive thing that we saw in the past was that, with technological progress, the number of unemployed people actually dropped. “There will be new jobs coming along,” says Dirik confidently. And that the newly created jobs would be more human than the ones that fall away.

And, to be honest, it’s like this: tasks that are repeating themselves are usually those we do not usually enjoy doing a lot. As a consequence, mistakes happen and we get frustrated.

Dirik believes that jobs will come that are a lot more fun and a chance to work more creatively. Indeed? Yes, because something completely non-technological, namely creativity and storytelling, will play an exciting role. Both would come back as a very important element. “The more we move towards automation, the more important creativity will become: to stand out from the competition with a product.” Hope-raising words from someone who needs to know.

Learn more about Iskender Dirik? Email to:

Iskender Dirik

Managing Director / General Manager Samsung NEXT Europe, German serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist and tech expert