Samu Paajanen leads CGI Finland’s Cloud Analytics team, where Eliecer Diaz works as a data analyst. Together they try to find out the meaning of data and develop solutions using Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques such as machine learning – and share a passion towards running marathons.

Meet Eliecer and Samu

How did you end up doing what you do?

“I have a secret background in coding”, Samu reveals. “I’ve been working at CGI for two years, and a while ago I had a chance to jump into the analytics business. I’m very curious, and within AI things are developing fast. As a team leader I coordinate the team, develop our offering and work in sales and marketing. Cloud is used as a main delivery channel as it is easy for our customers to use and for our analysts to distribute data.”

Eliecer is a world-citizen, who grew up in Chile, did his Ph.D. in spatial statistics and ecology in South Africa, post-doctoral research in Stockholm and Åbo Academy universities, and has now settled down in Helsinki.

“In Finland I realized that companies work with advanced analytics tools, providing a great opportunity to work with AI, machine learning, robotics and Big Data. At CGI, I work on problems related to data mining, classification and prediction in order to make suggestions on how companies can maximize sales or minimize industrial waste. I think that my academic background has taught me a logical but holistic way of thinking and approaching complex challenges.”

One of the team’s newest AI solutions is a chatbot, which is a computer program for having a conversation. Such program can be implemented, for example, on a web store, where it helps potential clients to find the right products.

How is working at CGI like?

“I enjoy working with fresh minds like Future Talents [our trainees] or together with other data scientists and engineers on the implementation of new technologies”, Eliecer tells. Eliecer’s dream would be the creation of a CGI AI laboratory, where he and his colleagues could combine new approaches.

Samu tells his team is filled with different personalities and skills from mathematicians and technical architects to introverts and sales-minded people. “My team is great and I hope we can hold onto the atmosphere, where employees can present their ideas freely.”

But why should we all be interested in analytics and AI?

“We cannot ignore AI, it’s coming to our lives to stay”, Samu and Eliecer say.

However, they both believe that together with AI software machines we can build a better world and improve the quality of life. And in the future we can feel emotional towards robots, too. That’s called social intelligence and could be a solution for loneliness or people that need to develop their interpersonal skills.

AI is also a great tool for complex problem-solving or to support decision-making, since it’s not biased by emotions. Finally, with AI you can design structures that engineers couldn’t have even imagined.

“I wish that analytics and AI would be used for common good, like reducing industrial waste or finding ways to minimize human impact on climate change. But, ultimately I wish that AI becomes the factor that brings us to equilibrium with our planet”, Eliecer sums up.

Want to learn more? Check out the public sector’s Maankoodaajat initiate, where Elina Jeskanen from Samu’s team participated this summer. It’s a good example of how AI can be utilized for common good.

Interested in working at CGI? “We are constantly recruiting new skills with the following characteristics: right attitude, curiosity and willingness to study new skills”, Samu lists.

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