CEIBS alumna sheds light on the spark of human connection and the world of robots and AI

Sylvia Stocker is a CEIBS alumna and founder and CEO of Arabesque LLC. Her company is involved in one of today’s top trending topics: AI and robotics. Arabesque delivers consultancy and implementation of robotics and AI. Sylvia herself is particularly passionate about human-machine interaction. She is excited about the possibility of exponential growth in the market for service robots. We spoke to Sylvia about learning, the impact of CEIBS on her career, and the role of AI and robots in the future of work and education.

Sylvia is an alumnus of the earliest days of CEIBS: “Even though it was a while ago, I still feel that it was a very important step in my career,” she says.

When Sylvia decided on the BBA programme (a programme previously offered by CEIBS), just like many candidates, she compared schools and how suitable they would be for her.

“It was important to me at that time – and it would still be today – to have a flexible schedule and timing, especially when having a busy job that involves traveling. But of course, the programme was the essence of it all,” she says.

My studies sparked my curiosity and openness”

Sylvia says that her professors were passionate about their teachings, and that they connected students and teachers in a great way.

“That brought a positive dynamic to the programme. What I really enjoyed were the examples they discussed with us on thriving and failing businesses and why they do or don’t succeed. Those learnings were very insightful and remain useful to me today,” she adds.

The peer exchange and teachings engaged Sylvia early on. She made new friends in those days and is still actively involved in the CEIBS community and the alumni network. For her, studying strengthened her curiosity and openness for learning and evolving in life.

“Whether it is in business or in private, it was kind of a spark,” she says about her studies at the school.

The importance of learning

The ‘spark’ Sylvia discovered while learning has motivated her to take action right up until this day.

“I dance with fear, do the work and follow through,” she says.

Speaking about the importance of learning, we wanted to know more about her professional expertise on AI and robotics. Sylvia specializes in service robots and AI, where she offers strategic consultancy and implementation.

“There is so much opportunity in this exponentially growing market,” she says – hence her passion for human-machine interaction.

AI and the education sector

We also asked Sylvia about the impact of AI and robots on the education sector.

“AI and robot education are currently two separate topics for executives, but this will change. Of course, ChatGPT is a big topic right now. It will change the way we educate and work significantly,” she states.

“You can only imagine how we will need to educate ourselves in the near future with the exponential growth of robots and AI. I’m not only talking about executives, but almost all of the workforce and across industries,” says Sylvia.

“We will have new concepts in education too. AI and robots can be implemented partly as a teacher, or to bring gamification to education to make it more engaging, for example, to quiz your knowledge,” she adds.

Sylvia underlines the importance of thinking about how to combine technology such as AI and robotics with learning – including beyond the classroom.

“We’re working with people in higher education. That is about helping them to understand, ‘How do you work with robots?’” she says.

Changes to the way we work

Talking about how technology might change our working world, Sylvia says: “AI and robotics do change the way we work, the way we think. In the future, you will conceptualize differently as an employee, or as a manager. We will consider: How do we design our daily life? Our work? Our processes? All this will get us to reflect more about concepts.”

“For now, many companies are thinking about their customer journey or how they can build that experience using robots and AI. Whilst there are practical questions about coding and programming itself, to me, the most important question is, ‘How can we design the best human-to-machine interaction?’” says Sylvia.

Keeping in touch

At the end of our chat, Sylvia asked us what we think about the impact artificial intelligence will have on CEIBS. Could robots be teaching modules on our future MBA and Global EMBA programmes? It remains to be seen, and of course, we are all curious to find out. For now, we will stick with our esteemed professors!

Sylvia is part of the CEIBS Alumni Network, a network of thousands of CEIBS graduates who meet regularly for both social and professional exchanges.

If you would like to make a human connection with Sylvia to discuss robotics, AI or her study journey with CEIBS, please reach out to her LinkedIn.

CEIBS Alumna Sylvia Stocker