Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS)



Andy Chen, Renowned Innovator, IEEE Computer Society Board Chairman

This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with Andy Chen, P. Eng. President & CEO, Catronic Enterprise.

Andy ChenAndy Chen is the President and CEO of a global consulting firm. The firm's principle business is to provide consulting services for the utility industry worldwide. Andy is a senior business advisor for several leading global consulting firms and enterprise software vendors. He has over 30 years of experience in utility sectors specializing in Nuclear Power Generation. For the past eight years, Andy has been assisting leading global consulting firms in business development for the Nuclear Utilities in China and in North America. In recent years, Andy has provided advice on Enterprise Asset Management best practices for power generation to several government agencies and State Owned Enterprises (SOE) in China and Australia.

Andy is the 2016/2017 Vice President of the CS Professional and Educational Activities Board. He is also a director for the Federation of Enterprise Architecture Professional Organization's board and a member of the Technical Advisory Council for the FinTech Ideas Festival. He also served as the chair of ABB International User Board of Directors. As an internationally recognized speaker, Chen was a keynote speaker at the World Computer Congress, the World CIO Forum, and the Digital Africa Conference. Andy is a partner of REDDS Venture Investment partners which empower disruptive start-ups that scale worldwide and have billion dollar plus potential through team building, global business development, financing, mentoring, and strategy. Andy held the position of the Chief Technology Officer and Vice President, Enterprise Strategy and Architecture of a Canadian-based electricity generator. He also has extensive experience in a variety of engineering and systems roles within the company including managing a project to replace the obsolete direct control computers in a nuclear station which was the first successful implementation in the Nuclear Industry.


Q: Andy, thank you for sharing your deep experiences with our audience.

A:  "Thank you, Stephen. It is my great pleasure to have this opportunity to chat with you and share my experience with your vast audiences."

  Before we get into your participation at the inaugural AI summit, co-organized by the United Nations Agency ITU and XPRIZE Foundation, let's mine details of your life journey.

Q: Describe milestones in your life from the age of 6?

A:  "There were many. Health wise, I would say recovering from two major spinal surgeries and resuming an active normal life. Marriage wise, celebrating 35 years of marriage a couple of years back. Career wise, retiring from a corporation that I enjoyed a successful career for 30 years some eight years ago."

Q: What are the stories behind your career highlights outside of the IEEE?

A:  "I would say working for a corporation where I started as an engineering trainee and retired as the Chief Technology Officer supporting more than 12,000 colleagues and serving millions of customers."

  Now let's get into the IEEE and the AGGS.

We will now discuss the inaugural AI for Good Global Summit (AGGS) organized by the ITU and XPRIZE Foundation in partnership with more than 10 UN agencies. The event, the first of a series of annual conferences on AI, will convene representatives of government, industry, UN agencies, civil society and the AI research community to explore the latest developments in AI and their implications for regulation, ethics and security and privacy. Breakout sessions will invite participants to collaborate and propose strategies for the development of AI applications and systems to promote sustainable living, reduce poverty and deliver citizen-centric public services.

Q: What is the history of the IEEE Computer Society?

A:  "The IEEE Computer Society is the world's leading membership organization dedicated to computer science and technology. Serving more than 60,000 members, the IEEE Computer Society is the trusted information, networking, and career-development source for a global community of technology leaders that includes researchers, educators, software engineers, IT professionals, employers, and students.

Last year was the 70th anniversary for IEEE Computer Society."

Q: Personally, professionally, and as board chairman within the IEEE Computer Society, why are you supporting the AGGS?

A:  "In recent years, I have been focusing and devoting most of my energy in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Education and Professional Training. Through XPRIZE AI, we were able to reach out to our members to form teams globally to develop and demonstrate how humans can collaborate with powerful AI technologies to tackle the world's grand challenges. We also encourage remote participation of AGGS amongst our local chapters worldwide."

Q: In what ways can the IEEE Computer Society support the AGGS?

A:  "Earlier on, IEEE Computer Society signed an agreement with XPRIZE Foundation to support their various stages of competitions by encouraging our members to participate and providing leading researchers and industry leaders to help judge the competitions. When XPRIZE Foundation joined forces with ITU along with other UN agencies to launch AGGS, I took the first opportunity to volunteer to help with this inaugural event. IEEE CS has been actively involved in various initiatives enabling the success of this event. For instance, we help with the remote participation planning efforts and nominate guest editors for first issue of AI Journal."

Q: What outcomes do you wish to see from the summit?

A:  "To learn from leading experts in their innovated approach to enable AI solutions to solve many of the global challenges facing us today. More importantly to facilitate collaborations between these leading experts and to join their efforts to deliver a bigger and better impact."

Q: What are your top three program areas of interest at the summit and do you have any stories to share behind your choices?

A:  "Investments, Economic Aspects and Designing the Future; Future Roadmap – Collaborating for Good; AI for Common Good and Sustainable Living. Under Sustainable Living, last year I delivered a keynote speech on “Smart Cities; A Step into the Future” in Nigeria, Africa. I experienced first-hand how the developing country copes with challenging living conditions. I met a large number of young professionals with entrepreneurial spirits. Empowering this young generation with better training and education will certainly benefit not only their local economy but it will have significant impact in the global scale."

Q: What are your predictions for AI?

A:  "I see that the tools, devices and services that we use on and off work will become much more intelligent. We will begin to see "Personal AI's", "Professional AI's", "Enterprise AI's" along with some specialized "Agent AI" surfacing. Just like the smart phones, tablets and laptop today, they will become an integral part of our day-to-day life."

Q: What things continue to excite you?

A:  "Spending time with seniors and learning their life long secrets of longevity. The other day, I attended a birthday celebration with my good friend who is 101 years old. He invited me back for his 102nd birthday next year. He is certain he will be there. It is going to be up to me to see if I can make it."

Q: You have many interests. Can you talk further about them?

A:  "One of my interests is to help the elder generation to sustain a better quality of life as they age. Many AI solutions will directly address some pressing issues related to safety, health and mobility. For instance, all seniors will eventually be forced to give up driving which will limit their mobility significantly. With autonomous driving vehicles, many of them will resume their active lifestyle."

Q: From your extensive speaking, travels and work, can you share some stories (perhaps something amusing, surprising, unexpected or amazing)?

A:  "My most recent trip to Beijing. I was surprised that I did not reach into my pocket once for the entire duration of my stay in this most populated metropolitan city. In fact, I only needed to use one App to pay for my accommodations, transportation, meals and entertainment. I also used the same App for communication with others. The technology adoption by everyday consumers in China far exceeds most countries around the globe."

Q: If you were conducting this interview, what 3 questions would you ask, and then what would be your answers?

A:  "Q1: What will you do differently after the AGGS event?
A1: This is not an easy question to answer, but my plan is to jot down different ideas that I gathered during the event and re-adjust some of my priority items for the next 12 months. The outcome of this exercise should expand my contributions to AI for the good of humanity.

Q2: How would you take what you get out of this event and make a difference in your community?
A2: One of my goals for this event is to connect with those leading experts that would volunteer to share their knowledge and experience with our members worldwide. One way to do that is to arrange for these experts to speak at our local chapter events in their cities and countries.

Q3: What are your goals in attending this event?
A3: One of my goals in attending this event is to find opportunities to collaborate with some of the AI experts in developing a series of training and certifications for different aspects of AI and Machine Learning. In IEEE CS, we have launched a global series of AI and Machine Learning courses."

Q: Andy, with your demanding schedule, we are indeed fortunate to have you come in to do this interview. Thank you for sharing your deep experiences with our audience.

A:  "You are very welcome, Stephen. It is always a pleasure chatting with you."