AI can do a lot, but it’s important to remember
what makes us human

Although she is fascinated by new technologies, Sheila Gemin always puts people first. She urges her teams to do the same when providing the tech for ING’s global HR, COO and Risk organisations, among other things. During European Women in Tech (EWIT), she will be talking about the opportunities offered by artificial intelligence, but also emphasising that the human factor is – and will continue to be – crucial.

Together, Sheila’s teams comprise around 500 people in total, mostly SaaS and other tech engineers, based in six countries across the globe. “Our primary goal is to deliver secure and scalable technology to the worldwide ING organisation. Technology that supports the customer and employee experience, and helps the bank to fulfil its ambition of end-to-end digitalisation. As you can imagine, artificial intelligence (AI) is hugely important to us. It can do a lot and is getting smarter and better all the time. But I repeatedly stress that AI is just an enabler. It will never replace us; human inventiveness and creativity will always be crucial.”

‘AI is just an enabler. It will never replace human inventiveness and creativity’

“Needless to say, we will make use of things like generative AI and Copilot within the bank; they are teriffic tools for certain tasks. But everyone has to know how to do that in a 100%-responsible way. We must have a clear understanding of the potential consequences in terms of security and privacy, for example, which are both pretty big issues for a bank…”

‘The best way to embrace this tech revolution is to focus on our human qualities’

“In my presentation at EWIT, I will highlight a number of aspects that are important in relation to AI, such as objectives, ethical issues and the necessary mindshift. I want to encourage people to think about how this fantastic technology can help individuals and organisations to add value. I’m not an AI engineer, so I won’t explain how AI works. But what I will do is give the mainly-female audience insight and encouragement to explore how they can benefit from AI. I strongly believe that the best way to embrace this tech revolution is to continue focusing on our human qualities such as creativity, innovativeness, empathy and resilience.”

‘Presenting to a female audience is extra special’

“It makes no difference to the content of my presentation, but it feels extra special to be part of a tech event especially for women. There’s simply a different atmosphere and energy, which is appealing and refreshing. Last time, it put a huge smile on my face. I also hope that the mere fact I am there, showing what is possible as a woman in tech, will inspire people. Showing that it’s possible to develop and grow, whether that’s by moving upwards or sideways.”

About Sheila

Sheila studied technical computer science and initially worked as an IT consultant and headhunter. She then ran her own company that developed data-driven and algorithm-based training programmes for endurance athletes. She also chaired a global NGO supporting gender equality. In 2021, she joined ING as tech lead. Sheila is very sporty, and so too are her husband and four children. She spends most of her free time on her road bike or on the golf course. She is also a “huge fan” of science fiction and fantasy novels, preferably by female writers.

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