Sunday March 29, 2020

The real opportunity for Ireland lies with taking a leadership position on this technology

19th February, 2020

What's your name?

Kieran McCorry

What’s your current job?

I’m the National Technology Officer for Microsoft Ireland.

How long have you held the position?

Just over two years.

Can you describe your daily work routine?

I’m an early riser and I like to get a handle on the day as soon as I can. I’m usually up around 6.00am even if I’m not going into the office. Sometimes I’m up so early that I have to sneak out of the house so that I don’t wake my wife or kids! There’s usually quite a chunk of email in my inbox and I like to get through that as quickly and efficiently as possible. I have my work pretty well structured so I typically know from week to week what I’m supposed to be doing and where I’m supposed to be going. Some days I’ll be in the office with planning and strategy meetings. Some days I might be with customers. And other days I might be participating in an event or conference. I’m lucky that I love the work that I do and the people I work with, both our customers and our own Microsoft people! Every day brings some new excitement, but the one constant is that my To-Do list is usually longer at the end of the day than it was at the start!

What is your professional background?

I’ve been working in the technology industry since 1991 and I’ve done a little bit of everything spanning areas such as programming, consulting, running internal teams, R&D, developing intellectual property, and business strategy. I started my work in Ireland, but then I spent quite a few years (too many in fact) working all over the world. It’s good to be back working at home now!

Tell me about yourself away from work?

It’s varied: I try to run and cycle when time and weather permits. I do a bit of hill-walking with my kids. Reading and music. As a family, we love to travel and we’re always looking for new parts of the world to explore. I’m also Chief Homework Inspector: I love it—but my kids hate it!

Tell us something very few people know about you?

What, like my mother’s maiden name or the name of my first pet? No chance!

You are speaking at the forthcoming 2020 Summit in Croke Park. What is the focus of your talk?

I’m on a panel discussing how Ireland can be more successful with AI. I’ll be looking at some of the challenges that we’ve seen with AI adoption on a national level and what we can do about that, as well as developing the appropriate policy framework to make it a reality.

How do you think AI will Ireland’s future over the next 5 years?

I think it will be a gradual process of change. We’ll see more automation behind the scenes that won’t be blindingly obvious but it will make systems and processes that companies and public bodies rely on more effective and more efficient. Ultimately, people will start to take it for granted. This will boost productivity, both personal and corporate, but the real opportunity for Ireland lies with taking a leadership position on this technology and developing an environment that positively supports and encourages AI-based technology.

Can you comment on whether you think Ireland’s workforce has the right kind of skillsets to enable the future workforce to deal with the oncoming fifth revolution?

Yep, I can of course. We’re getting there. The change will be gradual, so we need more young people to be fluent in technology and an increased focus on STEM in school and university. Good progress has been made here to date but there’s still lots to do. It’s something that we’re very passionate about in Microsoft and why we’re investing over €5 million in our Dream Space program to educate over 100,000 kids and their teachers on technology, AI, and coding.

Kieran will be speaking at the AI Summit on March 5th in Croke Park, Dublin.

For more information see www.aisummit.ie

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