Artificial Intelligence may well define the world of technology going forward; here’s how

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Published: March 20, 2017 4:45:56 AM

Artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to be a defining force in the world of technology whose influence will move much beyond the IT department

AI is also seen a key technology enabler which can define a lot of things in the near future and the Indian (IT) industry, recognising this fact has devoted significant resources and investments into this segment.

Artificial intelligence (AI) might seem a very esoteric concept but the reality is that this technology is very real and it is increasingly finding wider level of acceptance through various applications. Though, it is still far away from being like any other mainstream technology, the importance of AI cannot be discounted with more number of enterprises taking definite steps to integrate this technology within their framework to achieve key business goals.

AI is also seen a key technology enabler which can define a lot of things in the near future and the Indian (IT)
industry, recognising this fact has devoted significant resources and investments into this segment. This
becomes even more paramount as the clients of the Indian IT companies also seek solutions which have an AI flavour to it. AI helps not just for the Indian IT companies to generate higher level of efficiencies internally but also gives them the ability to display a new kind of problem solving solution which is intuitive, creative and creates a completely different paradigm.

However, the big question is how do enterprises start integrating an AI application. According to Bengaluru-based IT major Wipro, the key is to define the right process that is amenable for disruption. Any process that demands a lot of manual activity and is digitised to a large extent is a low-hanging fruit. Enterprises should focus on use cases where AI can improve the quality of decision-making. While evaluating the processes, the consideration of cost of implementation, the complexity of solution and projection of ROI are the three key parameters in selecting the right process. Once the process has been selected, then the ideal way to start is through pilot implementations.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) in its recent Global Trend Study titled, “Getting Smarter by the Day: How AI is Elevating the Performance of Global Companies,” said majority of companies see AI as essential to competitiveness, consider it transformative and view the technology as important or highly important to remaining competitive in 2020.

According to the TCS study, large banks in the US use AI algorithms to help them sift through hundreds of thousands of transactions every month, automating the laborious task of complying with anti-money laundering regulations. Japanese auto giant Toyota Motor is pouring $1 billion during the next four years into a research institute that will develop AI systems to help motorists avoid accidents. German athletic gear giant Adidas has completed a successful test of an automated factory and plans to open a second.

Wipro felt that it is very important to put in place from the beginning a strong governance platform for the AI application. One of the many reasons is, AI applications start with low to medium efficiencies but with constant usage, their efficiency improves. Hence, constant training and with the right data is very important for creating a
successful AI application. Another reason is controlling any rogue behaviour with unintended consequences to be identified early on and preventive actions taken.

However, for now there seems to be certain tentativeness on the part of the enterprises in adopting AI. The TCS study which surveyed 835 executives across 13 global industry sectors in four regions of the world said, “From our
research, the picture today of AI in big global companies is best described as one of widespread experimentation but limited transformation. Some 84% of the 835 companies surveyed across the world are using some amount of AI technology today in their businesses. That is not surprising, given today’s ‘perfect technology storm’.”

The entire effort and focus of AI is to take the complex amount of data from multiple sources and create a template which is simple to understand without losing the comprehensiveness. However, Wipro felt that the key is to use the
appropriate tool for the appropriate problem. “There is no point in using deep learning service for a scenario where a simple rule can suffice. The right ensemble should be established which is purpose-designed for the corresponding use case. One-size-fits-all does not work,” it said.

The beginning has been made and there is no turning back on AI. According to TCS, only a few are making bold investments today, which may trigger a competitive imbalance tomorrow. “By the end of the decade, AI’s impact is seen as expanding far beyond the IT function: The most frequent user of AI in 2016 was the IT department, but the biggest beneficiaries of the technology by the year 2020 are predicted to be outside of IT,” TCS said.

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