Photos: Jessica Chapplow private archives
Jessica Chapplow, a specialist in artificial intelligence, digital marketing and business transformation, is a passionate advocate for ethical data use and the importance of educating organisations about AI and related technologies
It is no longer news that digitalisation, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and robotics are one of the main features of the 21st century. The things we watched in science fiction movies or read about a decade or more ago have become a reality. Does this mean that the age of humans is about to end and the age of machines is coming? Will modern technology really help us move forward and create more time for ourselves, or will it make our world more complex and less efficient?
One of the best people we could be talking to about the coexistence of humans and machines is Jessica Chapplow, a specialist in artificial intelligence, digital marketing and innovation Jessica advises many clients on embracing new technologies, and is a passionate advocate of the ethical use of data and the responsible use of artificial intelligence. She has also been described as a ‘modern-day pirate’ by the author of the acclaimed Be More Pirate book and movement. Whilst juggling a full-time career Jessica also somehow manages to take the time to tirelessly help in humanitarian efforts around the world.
She has visited Croatia twice and has been highly praised for her inspirational presentations.
‘I always say the hardest thing in connection with artificial intelligence is making me stop talking about it. Croatia has been one of my favourite places to visit. People are cheerful, warm and kind, and I appreciate the patience of the taxi drivers that I practice my bad Croatian with.I can’t want to come back to visit again in the summer. The highlight of my last trip to Zagreb in November has to be visiting the Museum of the Broken Relationships. It’s a weird and wonderful place where I felt as though I was making a voyeuristic visit into so many people’s relationships from around the world.
You have been selected as one of MediaWeek’s 30 most talented people under 30 and have been a finalist for Women in Tech’s Young Leader of the Year; you are also a consultant to global brands. When did you first realise you had a talent for the job?
I can’t define the exact moment as I believe that a person’s talent is honed through learning and dedication to their career over time. That being said, I think I succeeded because of three factors: instinct, opportunity and business environment. I started out as one of the first employees in a specialised e-commerce department at one of the largest advertising agencies. In this role, I gained invaluable exposure to the challenges of building a department and digital specialism from scratch. It was about creating something based on what I thought was right and something that I found personally fulfilling at that moment. My golden work rule is to always know the difference between doing what you are told to do, and doing what you are capable of. Any success I have achieved has been borne out of understanding and acting on this.
At one of the workshops at the Booking Manager Summit in Zagreb, you were described as a person who makes decisions in a logical and rational way. How does this characteristic help you in your career and everyday life?
The way I work in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning requires a lot of analytical data and a rational mindset. Relying on your own creativity without using statistical indicators and figures would be a very big challenge. On the other hand, things are very relative and in some other projects and tasks, I use creativity more, ignoring analytics. There is no magic formula or perfect ratio in the use of logic and imagination; it changes depending on priorities. Many decisions I’ve made in my career and personal life came as a combination of heart and mind.
You focus on the role of cutting-edge technology in modern society. Did you, as a young girl, read sci-fi books or watch movies that gave you ideas for some of your projects?
Sci-fi books and movies inspire people to dream, inspire them to venture into the unknown and try to achieve the impossible. The world is full of possibilities, and, pushing back the boundaries in this way, we hope to gain access to some of them at least. You know, some of the things that are mentioned in the books are no longer in the distant future, and some are already present in our lives. With the possibilities of modern technology and artificial intelligence, in some situations, the ‘impossible’ has become just an ordinary word. I’m a big fan of the Matrix film series, and we see that the use of augmented reality, virtual reality and machine learning is progressing at a rapid rate in our real world. One of my favourite books is The Book of Why, I am fascinated by how Judea Pearl’s work enables us to know not just whether one thing causes another: it lets us explore the world and the worlds that could have been.