Defining "Autonomous Transformation" and Avoiding "Pilot Purgatory" with Microsoft's Brian Evergreen

We’re all familiar with Microsoft. That’s a given. But we’re probably not all familiar with the autonomous AI work they are doing. 

That’s why we called on an expert to give us the lowdown on what autonomous AI means, highlight its risks and opportunities and give us his verdict.  

On episode 118, Brian Evergreen, Global Head of Autonomous AI Co-Innovation at Microsoft, joins Manufacturing Happy Hour. If the episode title (or Brian’s job title) doesn’t make a ton of sense to you just now, you’re in the right place because Brian is keen to define the term in detail. 

Brian also provides advice for getting new technology initiatives off the ground, from AI to machine learning and more. Plus, there are a ton of pragmatic tips and tricks for leading through tech transformations. 


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3 Quick Things from this Episode

  1. Autonomous AI comes with risks, but also great opportunities
  2. Having legal voices in the room helps with autonomous AI initiatives 
  3. …that said, it’s important to build a ‘pilot purgatory steamroller’ to move innovative initiatives forward!

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Tweetable Quotes

  • “The right time to get started with autonomous AI really depends on your outlook or perspective as a business leader.” 
  • “If designed correctly, there’s no great physical risk associated with autonomous AI.” 
  • “87% of machine learning models never make it into production. I’m curious how that will change as these autonomous AI technologies become more adopted.”

Please Scroll Down for Full Show Notes and Recommended Resources from this Episode

Do you want to connect with other leaders that are moving the needle in manufacturing everyday? Then make sure to join us in the Manufacturing Happy Hour Industry Community on LinkedIn. 

Looking for an event that’s the epicenter of robotics and smart manufacturing technology? Look no further than ATX West. Manufacturing Happy Hour is proud to partner with the West Coast’s premier automation show for the 2nd year running. February 7-9, 2023 in Anaheim, CA. Register today.

Interested in generating leads through videos, podcasts, or other digital content? Then make sure to check out our 6 Strategies for Growing Your Manufacturing Business Using Social Media. 

What We Discuss with Brian Evergreen 

  • Brian’s route into AI (via chess?) 
  • Baseline definitions of AI, autonomous AI, and autonomous transformation 
  • Why take a human-centric approach to AI 
  • The risks and opportunities surrounding AI 
  • How to ensure AI projects succeed, scale, and don’t get stuck 
  • The lowdown on Brian’s book and writing process 
  • How to avoid ‘pilot purgatory’ 
  • Where Brian would like a beer with Chris 

Recommended Resources

  • ATX West, this week’s show sponsor. Taking place from February 7-9 in Anaheim, CA, this event showcases the latest automation and intelligent robotic technology, focusing on how to better automate manufacturing processes. Discover the world of automation and build smarter solutions with ATX West. 
  • Autonomous Transformation: Creating a More Human Future in the Era of Artificial Intelligence, Brian’s book for organizational leaders who are trying to create a more human future with technology
  • The Woodman Lodge, casual American restaurant in a 1902 fraternal hall serving many meats, seafood, and weekend brunch in Snoqualmie, WA

Connect with Brian Evergreen