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Artificial Intelligence Means Business

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Jagdish Mitra, Chief Strategy & Marketing officer, Tech Mahindra
Jagdish Mitra, Chief Strategy & Marketing officer, Tech Mahindra

Headquartered in Mumbai, Tech Mahindra is one of the world's largest technology companies offering a wide array of solutions in the areas of information technology, networking technology solutions, and Business Process Outsourcing(BPO), mainly to the telecommunications industry.

Today, while some industries are leveraging AI (Artificial Intelligence) capabilities to provide end-to-end solutions by automating business intelligence and analytics, others are using it to simply enhance efficiency of business processes. Then, there are virtual assistants like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa that are using natural language processing (NLP) to interpret voice commands and generate responses accordingly. Emotional Intelligence today is embedded in the realm of AI.

Another interesting application of AI is autonomous driving, that has made the idea of driverless cars a reality. AI technology is making it possible for human drivers to take a backseat, while the autonomous cars compute large amount of data, consider thousands of scenarios, and take real-world decisions in a very short span of time and with high precision. Driverless cars are here to completely disrupt the way we imagine travel, giving us more time to work in the car, watch a movie or even talk on phone without having to loathe those hours of being stuck in traffic.

As AI turns the car into a rolling lounge, the one big probing question is - are we ready to give the control of our lives in the hands of AI? For this, we need to address the lack of AI policy preparedness. There is a dire need to deliberate upon and formulate the ‘ethics of AI’ that collectively ensure preservation of control and management of automated machines, data governance & ownership, algorithmic accountability & transparency, and more generally, the governing principles at the time of decision-making by these self-sustaining machines.

Today, we are at the cusp of an AI revolution. The time is apt to address and measure the impact of AI’s power and its impact on businesses and humanity,in general. While we can continue to debate the extent of AI proliferation in our businesses, we cannot deny the plethora of opportunities that AI is going to unravel in the years to come.

AI is not unidimensional in businesses, but is a broad arch of technologies, including Machine Learning, Robotics, Deep Learning, Natural Language Processing, Computer Vision, and Cognitive Computing. These technologies are making a substantial impact across businesses. AI applications are being used in banking & finance, recruitment, agriculture, healthcare, retail
security and even the entertainment space. The fact of the matter is that the future is here – now it is up to us, how we leverage these technology capabilities to derive and drive business value.

Another aspect with which AI is associated with is the loss of jobs. The truth is that the advent and application of AI technologies will lead to loss of certain jobs. However, while some mechanical jobs are likely to be taken-over by machines, equal or more number of new jobs will be created. Further, the advancements in AI technologies and their applications will make the workforce more efficient and smarter, and enable the otherwise linear IT & digital industry to deliver more business value by deploying the same or lesser number of professionals on projects. In such a dynamic market landscape, both organizations and professionals will need to heavily invest in up-skilling and re-skilling themselves to stay relevant in the industry.

" AI is not limited to any one organization, but is a collaboration between many players in the industry that work in communion to render optimum benefits of next gen technologies"

The fact remains - AI is real, and is here to stay. There are many more applications of this technology that are being tested and invented with each passing day. Any person who is ready to transcend from her/his current skills to new ones, will thrive in the future. Similarly, organizations that are building their business strategy around AI now, will remain competitive in future and have an edge over those who are doubting its capabilities.

The optimum strategy to embed AI in a business is to observe, learn and experiment. Organizations need to first determine and evaluate the various use cases of AI and AI-led technologies in their industry. The next step would be to identify how the technology can be built into their core business processes to drive efficiency. The idea is to create a competitive advantage in the market by deploying concrete & specific applications, where AI creates business value. The golden rule for embedding an AI strategy is first implementing AI ‘inside’ and then taking it ‘outside’ – implying that organizations first need to deploy AI within, and only then sell or pitch it to their customers.

At Tech Mahindra, we are betting big on emerging technologies like AI, Machine Learning (ML), Internet of Things, Robotics, and Analytics as part of our TechMNxt charter - a program rolled out globally and designed by preempting and anticipating our customer’s evolving and dynamic needs.

However, AI is not limited to any one organization, but is a collaboration between many players in the industry that work in communion to render optimum benefits of next gen technologies. One such case in point is the Acumos AI - a platform and open source framework that makes it easy to build, share and deploy AI applications. The Acumos AI platform has been hosted by the Linux Foundation and built collaboratively by Tech Mahindra and AT&T. It simplifies development and provides a marketplace for accessing, using and enhancing AI applications.

The time has come for organizations to explore, adapt and implement AI and AI-led technologies in their core business processes. It is all about ‘Enhanced intelligence & Collaborative disruption’ in this digital era.