Each year the Business Record gets the pulse on key issues affecting the region’s business community from our audience. Back in October we reached out, and Des Moines leaders delivered.

Catch a glimpse of what people thought about artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles in Des Moines and cybersecurity below, and look for the Business Record’s annual Leaders Survey in the Nov. 29 edition.
Agree or Disagree: Artificial intelligence will reduce the number of jobs available by 2040.
Agree: 50.00%, Disagree: 34.14%, I’m not sure: 14.86%

Disagree. “We are a service industry that needs real people. AI may help us with some of our processes, but it won’t decrease our need for employees.”
— Joann Tucker, McKee, Voorhees & Sease PLC, legal administrator

Not sure. “I think there will always be a need for social workers and mental health workers.”
— Christina Smith, Community Support Advocates Inc. CEO

Agree. “Today, we can’t find enough qualified employees, especially in the more basic roles. We believe AI will assist in that area, while leaving the more complex problem-solving and proactive decision making to our employees.”
— Mark Wyzgowski, CLA, managing principal
How prepared do you perceive Iowa businesses/governments to be in protecting or defending against a cyber attack?

“I think we are ill-prepared and there is not enough leadership on this issue.”
— Stephanie Preusch, Neighborhood Finance Corp. executive director

“As a risk manager I recognize that no entity is invulnerable to cyber attack. Proactive preparation is important and can mitigate the financial ramifications, but every entity bears some degree of exposure. And the larger the entity, the larger the exposure.”
— Jed Gammell, LSB Insurance, vice president of risk management

“There are many protections in place. Wish the media would not create so much fear.”
— Carol Olson, Office of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, state director
How comfortable would you be with autonomous vehicles driving on Des Moines’ roads?

“I made a bet five years ago that my oldest son (7 years old at the time) wouldn’t need to learn to drive because we’d be at Level 5 autonomy by 2022. We’re not there yet, but we’re making great strides and need to plan accordingly as a Central Iowa community.”
— Matthew Mitchell, Drake University strategy professor and Baton Global partner

“I’m comfortable, but hesitant. I believe they are proving themselves around the country in test areas, but until I see them in action locally – and see how human drivers interact with them – I’m not 100% comfortable. I love the idea of having a personal vehicle pick me up and drop me off at my destination without having to worry about parking.”
— Creighton Cox, Turner Construction Company manager of business development

“I trust them on side streets more than on the interstate system. Also would like to see a company test out [their] product during a snowstorm.”
— Adam Obrecht, AO Wealth Advisory, CEO