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Partner Interview: ClearSky Logic’s Paul Duffy on Trends, Ethics, & Opportunities

June 13, 2024

In the rapidly evolving landscape of technology and business, staying ahead of the curve requires visionary leadership and a knack for innovation. Paul Duffy, Chief Commercial Officer at ClearSky Logic, exemplifies these qualities, steering the Special Ops team to deliver cutting-edge software solutions for some of the world’s leading brands. With over two decades of experience in the commercial and tech sectors, Paul is passionate about building global brands, solving critical business problems, and fostering collaborative teams. His enthusiasm for technology and meeting new people fuels his drive to push boundaries and inspire others. In this interview, Paul shares his insights on the future of AI, the challenges facing tech leaders, the ethical implications of new technologies, and much more.

What new technology do you believe will have the biggest impact on the product development, marketing or tech world in the next 12 to 24 months?

AI chatbots and virtual assistants have significantly advanced following the public release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, prompting major tech companies like Google and Microsoft to introduce similar innovations. These AI tools are increasingly embedded in platforms like LinkedIn to enhance user-generated content. However, the integration potential extends far beyond. With technologies like Semantic Kernel, businesses can embed natural language processing directly into their products, transcending basic chatbot functionalities. This enables automatic generation, refinement, and suggestion of content within product interfaces. For example, AI can create diverse marketing materials from key brand elements, enhance search functions in sectors such as travel and real estate, and more. The seamless integration of AI is transforming product capabilities, making it essential for competitive businesses to adopt these innovations to stay relevant. We are seeing an increase in clients at ClearSky asking about how to implement AI, more and more with a stronger understanding of it too.Reflecting on your experience, what major challenges do you anticipate product/growth/tech will face in the coming years? How do you think leaders should be preparing themselves and their teams to tackle these challenges?

Reflecting on your experience, what major challenges do you anticipate product/growth/tech will face in the coming years? How do you think leaders should be preparing themselves and their teams to tackle these challenges?

Legacy software. We are seeing it a lot. Old systems, ways of working or antiquated processes tripping businesses up and causing them to stagnate. Business leaders need to be thinking 5-10 years ahead. What does customer acquisition look like, what direction is your industry headed, where does your product/services sit and how does that look in the coming months and years? A lot of leaders are worried about implementing change now, I would say there is more of a worry if you don’t change now. We’re seeing a lot of clients at ClearSky moving mountains in their space, getting ahead of the curve and really prioritising their tech, these are the ones who will win. The pandemic ousted those who didn’t ‘move with the times.’ and with technology evolving at the pace it is now, there is no time to waste.Considering recent advancements in AI, what are yourl thoughts on the ethical implications? From your perspective, what are the critical ethical challenges that need to be addressed as AI becomes more widespread?

Considering recent advancements in AI, what are yourl thoughts on the ethical implications? From your perspective, what are the critical ethical challenges that need to be addressed as AI becomes more widespread?

What a time to be alive! The adoption of commercial AI tools for content generation, often at the expense of traditional platforms like Google, stock imagery, and commissioned creative work, raises significant concerns. Central to these concerns is the vast, often unregulated, collection and processing of data that powers these AI technologies. Many companies and individuals have unknowingly had their data and imagery incorporated into AI systems, negatively affecting their services and web traffic. Businesses with extensive user-submitted data are increasingly revising their terms and conditions to allow for the use or sale of this data to AI developers or for their own AI initiatives. A particularly impactful area is AI-driven image generation, which has transformed a traditionally labour-intensive field into one requiring minimal effort, thus disrupting industries and professionals specialising in visual content.How do you envision the integration of emerging technologies like VR or AR evolving in professional environments where you work?

How do you envision the integration of emerging technologies like VR or AR evolving in professional environments where you work?

The integration of VR and AR technologies in professional environments is the next big thing. Driven by advancements in hardware and software. (Notable products like Meta’s Quest line and the recently introduced Apple Vision Pro) exemplify the significant strides being made toward making these technologies more user-friendly and life-like.

As headsets become slimmer, lighter, and more powerful, both VR and AR are expected are sure to enhance productivity in various settings.

AR can provide real-time overlays of information in physical environments, aiding in tasks like machinery maintenance, where technicians can visualise and interact with remote machine components.

Similarly, VR can revolutionise remote collaboration, enabling more immersive and effective virtual meetings and workspaces. This is the one thing I am excited about the most. For so many it will be the most “futuristic” change in the work place.In your opinion, what is the next big opportunity for tech innovation that you feel is currently being overlooked or isn’t receiving enough attention?

In your opinion, what is the next big opportunity for tech innovation that you feel is currently being overlooked or isn’t receiving enough attention?

There are so many right now it’s hard to pick.

We’re seeing a lot of movement in Biocompatible technology, it’s being relatively overlooked but the integration of advanced biocompatible technologies for medical applications could be huge. While there is substantial attention on digital health, AI in healthcare, and biotechnology, the specific niche of biocompatible technologies, including advanced prosthetics, bio-integrated sensors, and smart implants, presents huge, literally life changing ground for groundbreaking advancements.

Another promising opportunity for tech innovation that isn’t receiving as much attention as it should is sustainable energy storage solutions. While renewable energy generation (like solar and wind) gets significant focus, the storage of that energy in an efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly manner is a critical challenge that needs more innovation.From your own experience, how do you see the continuing evolution of remote work and its technologies impacting your own work-life balance?

From your own experience, how do you see the continuing evolution of remote work and its technologies impacting your own work-life balance?

Finding a work-life balance is always difficult. I personally like to be surrounded by colleagues sharing those coffee machine conversations and whiteboard moments. Depending on your role, it may mean you can do much of your job remotely and in a post-COVID world, that can be encouraged. We are all for utilising technology to be more efficient and communicative especially if that means, better flexibility for employees, reduced commute time or better working environments. Equally, all employees need to engage with one another at a human level, take a break from the screens and focus on in-person relationships, which can’t ever be beaten. Whilst the advantages of remote working and remote relationship building are big, it’s likely not as powerful as in-person collaboration.Can you share a bold prediction about how you think technology and sustainability will intersect in the next ten years?

Can you share a bold prediction about how you think technology and sustainability will intersect in the next ten years?

The circular economy model may become the new standard, requiring organisations to comply with strict regulations. These regulations will ensure that companies are responsible not only for releasing products but also for managing the entire lifecycle of their products. One example of this is the “Product as a Service” model, where customers can return products for recycling and receive replacements or repairs instead of discarding them. Software platforms can enhance transparency and traceability of items, and leverage their capabilities to influence behaviour change, encouraging people to adopt sustainable habits in the same way they engage users in product adoption.If you could implement changes to the way people work based on your own routines and practices, what specific adjustments would you make to improve productivity or well-being?

If you could implement changes to the way people work based on your own routines and practices, what specific adjustments would you make to improve productivity or well-being?

Routine

I like to be fairly regimented in my routine/core hours. Whilst I struggle to flick the off switch, it is important to stay disciplined to whatever tasks you have on your list. The feeling of completion is what fuels progression. Find a routine that works for you. Outcomes not hours.

Move

Regular breaks, get up, move, get outside, get some sunshine on your head, some rain on your umbrela, go get fresh air in your lungs. It helps literally everything!

Communication.

Be honest, transparent, be yourself, say what you’re thinking, always.

Exercise

Find your thing, indoors or out. Run, Swim, Cycle, Stretch, Breathe, all of the good stuff. Exercise to feel good, when you feel good you’ll be better in every aspect of your life not only for yourself, but for others around you.Reflecting on your own journey in your field, what is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is just starting out?

Reflecting on your own journey in your field, what is one piece of advice you would give to someone who is just starting out?

Be curious. Listen lots. Ask questions all of the time. Even though it may look like it, not everyone has a plan and is winging it. There has never been a more exciting time to be curious about technology.

About Paul Duffy:

As Chief Commercial Officer at ClearSky Logic, I lead the Special Ops team for software delivery, working with some of the best brands in the world. With over two decades of experience in commercial & tech, I thrive on building global brands, helping businesses solve critical business problems and creating collaborative teams across different departments. Tech is awesome. Meeting new people is awesome!What new technology do you believe will have the biggest impact on the product development, marketing or tech world in the next 12 to 24 months?

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