By Margery Moore, Founder, ehsAI
When I started this company with my co-founder in 2018, we had no idea if artificial intelligence (AI) and specifically machine learning (ML) and natural language processing (NLP) could help solve the huge business problem of having to manually transfer data from mandatory compliance documents. Three years and many customers and use cases later, we now know at ehsAI that AI is “the way,” (to use a popular Mandalorian term).
As it is with attorneys, we now clearly see that NLP is an essential tool for EHS professionals. Now that there are AI platforms like ehsAI, data availability due to digitization mandates at companies and lowered algorithm processing costs that have lowered barriers to entry, there is a revolution underway.
One thing that I stress to our customers and partners is that more positive disruption is still to come. NLP specifically is challenging the very foundations of management consulting, for example. In the EHS industry and related ecosystem of providers, manual data transfer and analysis has been the name of the game. This has created a vacuum with respect to both sustainability and new ESG requirements, which require a full record of compliance to be created, not just what is the top priority or what a company can afford to manage.
Companies are now being held to a new level of accountability and it’s just not humanly possible to manually read, deconstruct, analyze and keep on top of the mountains of compliance requirements now being mandated. Please take some time to read “Competing in the Age of AI” by Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani for more on this issue.
At a more granular level, ehsAI’s launch in early 2020 – not even a year ago – has provided many useful insights and lessons learned about this AI journey that I’d like to share in this inaugural “Founder’s blog.”
The First Lesson
AI has just entered the scene. It will take years for the IT talent pool to catch up. In the meantime, we have to hire young staff and train them by giving them real-world problems to solve, which we have done at ehsAI.
If you are a company just starting down this path, what do you do? My recommendation is to try out well-established and trustworthy AI driven platforms. See what works, what the ROI is and get to know the nature of AI. It’s completely different than traditional software development.
At the same time, hiring a data scientist to run a skunk-works or lab in the company is a good approach. They can help you identify and put some boundaries around where AI would help the most.
Don’t be surprised If you can’t get a data scientist. The global tech crunch is here, and it’s only going to get worse as Google, Meta, Amazon and other behemoths suck up every available person.
In my next blog, I will dive into the three types of users we see at ehsAI and how that might impact your AI journey. Stay tuned!
About the author: Margery Moore is a patent holder and widely respected expert with 25 years of experience in EHS&S data management. Margery’s accomplishments include the creation of multiple software products that continue to yield millions in annual sales, along with the development of long-lasting strategic partnerships with the largest players in the industry. She has extensive experience working with both public and private sector clients in North America and around the world including many of the Fortune 1000. She is a cofounder of ehsAI, which launched an AI-based platform in late 2018 and was recently purchased by Intelex Technologies, a Fortive company. ehsAI automates the analysis and deconstruction of complex EHS legal documents like permits, plans, and regulations, in minutes versus days. Significantly reducing the administrative cost of compliance.