No conversation around technology today is complete without a reference to artificial intelligence (AI). While the term AI has been around for decades, in recent times, its application across industries, from mining to healthcare, education and finance, among others, is changing the way we live, both at work and at home.  

The increasing ubiquity of AI can be attributed to greater processing power and the declining cost of achieving these tasks at increased speeds. The adoption of AI has been so rapid that technology leaders across industries can no longer ignore it for long-term and sustained financial growth

At the third edition of YourStory’s Future of Work event in Bengaluru on Saturday, AI was the focus of a panel discussion, which drew attention to ‘How AI is disrupting business models and value chains and unleashing transformative and innovative growth opportunities’. 

FoW_AI panel

The session was moderated by Sameer Dhanrajani, CEO and Co-founder, AIQRATE, and the panelists were Rajan Sethuraman, CEO, LatentView Analytics; Soumendra Mohanty, EVP Analytics and COO, Tredence; Prithvijit Roy, CEO and Co-founder, BRIDGEi2i; and Iqbal Kaur, Co-Founder, Zylotech. The discussion yielded many insights on the top trends around the technology.

1. Experiments at scale are the need of the hour

It is clear that we are at a stage where we need to experiment at scale.

In India, AI is still at the evangelising stage. There’s a lot of interest and most organisations realise that it is not a case where their first forays into AI are going to give phenomenal returns,” Rajan said.

He added that companies needed to run a lot of experiments. “From a team perspective, I would say how do you figure out how to run multiple prototypes, channels, and experiments.”

2. Every company today is a technology company

CXOs today are concerned with the outcome that they can deliver. “Today, businesses have realised that they are all into technology, regardless of the vertical they operate in,” Iqbal said.

All companies, whether startups or established businesses, are realising that they will no longer remain relevant or in the running without AI.

Prithvijit added, “As consumers, we are primarily operating from our mobile devices and have come to expect the same level of experience, whether it is ordering food, booking a cab, or any other service. So, a CXO has no other option but to rethink the way the business operates if s/he wants to remain in business. That’s where data, automation, and AI will be the game-changers.”

 3. Disruption is the new normal

The business landscape today is evolving constantly.

“Strategic business models are changing and the things we learned in business school like Porter’s 5 Forces model are no longer relevant today. But is AI a Trojan horse in Transformation at Scale?” Sameer asked.

Giving the example of Niramai. Ai, Rajan said the healthtech startup was using thermal sensors instead of X-rays to create images that would then be analysed using AI to make more accurate predictions and diagnoses of breast cancer.

“This allows for faster and more accurate treatment. Disruption is possible in several places, and companies and industries are still understanding use cases where AI can be used.”

4. Understanding the AI ‘playbook’

Companies further along their digital tranformation journey are better poised to leverage AI.

“If a company’s core processes are not digitised, then there is not enough data, and AI is a monster that needs to be fed a lot of data. One of the reasons many of our clients did not do well in their AI journey was that a lot of their processes were not digitised. So, we took a step back in the value chain and created that data,” Iqbal said.

Soumendra said it was important for companies to have absolute clarity on the problems they were trying to solve.

“Secondly, we often treat AI as a toy, an experiment, or an innovation. We forget who the main consumer of whatever we are creating is and whom we are disrupting for. If we keep the consumer in mind and have clarity on the problems we are trying to solve, that’s where the magic happens.”

5. Humans and AI will solve problems together

Prithvijit said we were already on the journey where this collaboration is happening.

AI is like a genie that is already out of the bottle, and we can’t put it back in. I think there will be certain repetitive jobs that will be done by AI. But that’s not the bigger thing. That will be an augmentation of human abilities, where AI will do things that the human brain cannot do,” he said.

When leveraged correctly, AI will bring about positive advances that will disrupt value chains across the economy. However, companies will have to guard against misinformation and manipulated and false data that can corrupt output, and AI developers need to be suitably prepared.    



(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)

A big shout out to our Future of Work 2020 Sponsors: Alibaba Cloud, Larksuite, Vodafone Idea Limited, GoJek, Adobe, Udaan, Pocket Aces, Junglee Games, ShareChat, Open, VestaSpace Technology, Maharashtra State Innovation Society, Kristal.AI and GetToWork; and our Knowledge Partner: Ascend Harvard Business Review.  

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