Forbes India hosted AI Innovation Round Table – Envisioning innovation for an Alternative Future, in December 2019. Industry leaders and domain experts gathered under Forbes India’s stewardship in a closed-group round table in Mumbai to discuss the democratization of AI on the Indian industry and its fair use. Our CEO Rangarajan Vasudevan was invited to be a part of this discussion.
Following is the summary of his views on the topics.
Q: Would you like to share your thoughts and experiences on how AI is accelerating innovation across the industry?
Rangarajan Vasudevan: Setting aside the hype, AI is predominantly considered in uses that impact the bottom line. There is also this other trend where decision-makers in the industry are interpreting AI as being applicable predominantly where human cognitive ability has called the shots so far. While this is undoubtedly one of the path-breaking applications of AI which have emerged in the last few years, there is more to AI than just trying to “see” or “speak” like humans. The foundation for good, fair AI is large volumes of clean, labeled data, which is where many enterprises in India are still maturing.
Q: How can AI drive empowerment at scale – Individuals, societies, and sustainability?
Rangarajan Vasudevan: In a broader sense, replace the word AI with technology and let’s look at how technology can drive empowerment. There are just too many examples here on the impact technology is having on these stakeholders. From a more nuanced point of view, AI is bringing to the table disruptive capabilities that call for a completely different approach to solve specific problems. Here, businesses can aim for low-hanging fruits. I can imagine, for instance, someone taking a crack at the problem of garbage sorting using the power of AI to recognize objects, something AI has matured at. AI is also extremely good at providing aid required for individuals at moments of crises by monitoring health vitals and correlating with the past medical history.
Q: How do you see AI influencing the existing skillsets of the working population?
Rangarajan Vasudevan: Technology skills are in high demand, naturally. Automation is becoming more widespread, at times, even without requiring AI. The nature of jobs is changing as well. Some of the newer skills are going to be about creating accurate data sets that are used to improve and augment. Reinventing the way an enterprise works at all levels will also require tremendous amounts of design and operational expertise.
Q: What are your thoughts on the collective responsibilities of organizations, policymakers and industry bodies in governing the use of AI for meaningful innovation?
Rangarajan Vasudevan: Data Privacy is a serious matter, especially in India where regulation is nascent. Left to themselves, organizations will likely end up prioritizing shareholder value over the common good. It is necessary for us to be more educated about how data we provide is being used and build a sense of ownership about the data. Likewise, it is essential for organizations to earn the trust of their customers in a transparent and symbiotic way. The government should facilitate but avoid over-regulation. The AI built on top must have transparency about the data utilized to produce business outcomes. By transparent, I’m referring to technological concepts of explainability, traceability, and provability.
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