Earlier this month, Pearson announced that it had hired former Intel executive, Milena Marinova, to the new position of Senior Vice President for Artificial Intelligence (AI) Products and Solutions. As one of the first companies to create such a role, Pearson appears to be jumping headlong into finding ways to use these advances in machine learning and automation to better its business.
In The Bookseller article about Marinova’s appointment, “Marinova said there were untapped opportunities within education where it could draw on digital and advanced AI techniques to the benefit of teachers and learners.” Could it be that it requires someone from outside of the publishing industry to see what potential technology can provide to publishers?
This isn’t the first time a publisher has brought talent from outside the industry in-house to help with strategic development. Just among the Big Five, Chantal Restivo-Alessi, Chief Digital Officer at HarperCollins, worked in the music industry and banking before joining the ranks at HarperCollins; Nihar Malaviya, Chief Operating Officer at Penguin Random House, worked as a consultant for JP Morgan and directed Bertelsmann’s Business Development; Cara Chirichella, Senior Director of Digital Marketing and Technology at Macmillan, worked in customer engagement.
While some companies may invest in bringing talent from other industries in-house to provide outside perspective and skills, others rely on service providers who can create a tailored program or system to meet the publisher’s unique needs or goals.
At Pearson, Marinova will be focused on “exploring and applying existing and new technologies in artificial intelligence, machine learning, including deep and reinforcement learning, as well as data analytics and personalized learning into current and future products and services,” according to the announcement.
As the market changes and customer desires fluctuate, it is important for publishers to be agile and bring in the talent needed to address those changes. And with automation-driven technology destined to play a major role in all of our futures, in publishing and beyond, having the right people in place, with the right knowledge, might just make all the difference when it comes to future-proofing our businesses.