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Visit of Prof. Youngjin Yoo at the Diginomics Brownbag seminar and subsequent workshop

On December 12, Prof. Youngjin Yoo from Case Western Reserve University will give a lecture on "AI as Information Infrastructure and the Future of Firms" at the Diginomics Brownbag seminar. This will be followed by a workshop on further development of research papers.

Time and place: 12.12.2019 from 12:15 to 13:45, room F4090, WiWi2 building.

Lecturer: Prof. Youngjin Yoo, Case Western Reserve University

Title: AI as Information Infrastructure and the Future of Firms

Workshop: 15:15 - 17:15, room A2020, WiWi1 building.

On December 12, 2019, Prof. Youngjin Yoo (Case Western Reserve University; will visit the Diginomics Research Group and give a lecture on "AI as Information Infrastructure and the Future of Firms." Youngjin Yoo is one of the world's leading researchers in the field of "Digital Innovation/Digital Transformation" and has published and edited numerous papers in elite journals such as Information Systems Research, MIS Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal and Organization Science. A summary of the presentation and a short CV of Prof. Yoo can be found below.

Following the presentation at the Brownbag Seminar, a workshop with Prof. Yoo on further development of research papers will take place. The purpose of the workshop will be to present 2 to 4 current working papers and to discuss with Prof. Yoo how they can be improved and made ready for publication. The workshop will start at 15:15 in room A2020 in the WiWi1 building and will end at 17:15.

Abstract. In this talk, I develop two interrelated ideas. First, I put forward the notion that it is beneficial to conceptualize artificial intelligence (AI) as an assemblage of distributed heterogeneous computing resources, autonomous algorithm, and ever-changing data, in short, information infrastructure. By seeing AI as assemblage, I explicitly recognize that “intelligence” of AI is a dynamic emergent property of the temporary and dynamic binding of distributed and heterogenous hardware, software and data in information infrastructure. Just like intelligence emerges from temporary connections among neurons — one that is actualized instance out of innumerable other possible such connections —, artificial intelligence must be understood as actualized instances of connections among heterogeneous and distributed elements in vast information infrastructure, out of innumerable other possible connections among distributed and heterogenous elements in information infrastructure. Such a distributed and infrastructure-centric view of AI, contrary to a view that sees AI as a discrete container of algorithms, provides a plausible explanation on the historical evolution of AI. More importantly, it recognizes the multiplicity, temporality, and situationality of emergent intelligence of AI. 

Second, given the increasingly important role that emergent intelligence of AI in firms, I argue that we need a new theory of a firm that recognizes how information infrastructure is centrally integrated in the value creation process by which algorithms mobilize deferred, temporary, situational, and recombinant assemblage of material physical and non-material digital assets to produce marketable goods and services. The emergent intelligence of algorithms then must be treated as the core element of any attempt to build a new theory of a firm. This will lead to the unbundling and re-bundling of the traditional firms, and the contemporary digital innovation phenomenon like digital platform ecosystems must be understood in this context.  I will use the digital transformation of healthcare as an empirical illustration to support this argument. I will conclude by speculating theoretical and managerial implications of the emergence of the new model of a firm.

Short CV. Youngjin Yoo is the Elizabeth M. and William C. Treuhaft Professor in Entrepreneurship and Professor of Information Systems at the department of Design & Innovation at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. An Association of Information Systems Fellow, he is also WBS Distinguished Research Environment Professor at Warwick Business School, UK. and a Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics, UK.  He is the founding faculty director of xLab at Case Western Reserve University. He has worked as Innovation Architect at the University Hospitals in Cleveland, overseeing the digital transformation efforts at one of the largest teaching hospital systems in the country. He studies digital innovation and publishes at leading academic journals such as MIS Quarterly, Information Systems Research, Organization Science, the Communications of the ACM, and the Academy of Management Journal among others.