Kellie Nuttall’s path to leadership in artificial intelligence has not been a conventional one. “I wouldn’t say I found AI,” she says. “I’d say AI found me.”
Kellie’s academic background is in psychology, and at school she struggled with math: “It was really conceptual. It didn't make sense to me.”
During her psychology studies at university, something started to click when she saw the possible applications of AI to solve problems, she recalls. “Ultimately it was all about using data to answer questions, and there's a story in data. And I loved that. Even more than any other analytics technique, AI can really help you understand that story more powerfully than ever before.”
Kellie has since fallen in love with AI and now leads Deloitte Australia’s AI & Data offering. “I love it because it allows us to be more human as humans and take the robot out of the human, in many ways.” She believes that AI has the potential to significantly enrich our lives on many fronts: “Whether that’s health care advances or improvements in financial security, or safety with autonomous vehicles—there’s so many things it’s going to do to improve our day-to-day lives.”
She explains: “Artificial intelligence is really good at the repetitive mass processing of information. Humans are really good at the human touch, the empathy, the understanding, the problem to solve. And I think that leveraging AI for repetitive tasks allows us to focus more on that human connection, and problem-solving is really awesome.”
Kellie earned a PhD in psychology of consumer decision-making. And with her skills in statistics and research, she ended up running a center of excellence for transport analytics for a state government. After recognising the pitfalls that can occur when applying AI, she decided it would be valuable to share her insights with other organisations that were on a similar journey. And that brought her to Deloitte nearly a decade ago.
At Deloitte, she works together with an enthusiastic team of AI professionals. She incubates leading-edge AI solutions, works with clients to build their AI fluency, and educates them on what these technologies could mean for their organisation. “Think of me as Deloitte’s official cheerleader for artificial intelligence in Deloitte Australia,” she says.
On the representation of women in AI, Kellie sees a need for action: “Females are underrepresented in the field of AI. Studies have already proven that teams that are working together with both genders are far more creative, they’re more experimental, they’re more productive, they’re more able to detect biases in their problem-solving.”
Kellie calls for a change: “The time for impactful AI is now, and so women should really think about STEM careers like AI, because there is a huge opportunity to make a massive impact that matters.”