The Rise and Rise of Artificial Intelligence

by February 15, 2017 0 comments


By Sunil Jose, MD, Teradata India

The advent of artificial intelligence or AI has drastically changed the way businesses consume information, in order to enable smart decision making and innovation across product and services. Advancement in smart technologies including AI and the rise of interconnected devices has not only enabled real-time data capture, storage or processing but it has also led to new opportunities for data scientists and businesses to drive insights that can be further turned into actions and outcomes. Such technology leaps will make businesses more efficient in operations and effective in understanding customers’ needs and fulfilling them in much better ways.

Businesses in India are employing AI technologies using algorithms that work real-time to get a variety of insights in support of products and services used by millions of consumers each day. With deep learning modules involving visual perception, face recognition, speech recognition, decision-making and natural language processing, AI is transforming businesses with data analytics providing real time strategic insights like never before. Predictive analytics is permeating all industries as organizations start to harness the power of data collection to enable smart decisions.

The need for faster and smarter decisions and the management of big data that can make the difference is driving a lot investment in ‘making machines learn and think like a human’ using artificial intelligence. Steady advances in hardware and software are sparking immense progress in how machines help interact with customers. Google’s voice recognition technology, for instance, improved to 98% in 2014 from 84% just two years earlier. Facebook’s DeepFace technology now recognizes faces with 97% accuracy. Voice recognition systems themselves now perform tens of millions of online searches every month. The convergence of big data analytics with AI is inevitable as the automation of smarter decision-making is the next evolution.

As machines get smarter, companies across the globe are beginning to explore ways to leverage AI to work more efficiently, safely, accurately and cost-effectively, and to improve consumer engagement and customer experience at the same time. AI will be used to replace simple human tasks and augment more complex ones in the predictable future. In fact, we are already seeing humans being replaced by AI in mundane customer service roles so that they can be leveraged for more complex tasks. The use of machine learning, expert systems and analytics in combination with big data, is the natural evolution of what has been two different disciplines. They are converging.

Until now, the private sector has largely been driving the subtle proliferation of AI technologiesthat was focused primarily on consumer goods and services. However, the potential, the emergent scale and implications that AI holds make it imperative for everyone to take notice. With more than 1 billion phone users, around 450 million internet users, and almost 4000 registered startups, India is witnessing a fundamental shift in technology, demographics and consumer behavior. Take for instance the growth of e-commerce in India powered by rise in smartphone penetration and growing internet adoption – India is today one of the fastest growing e-commerce markets. The era of demonetization and digital payment systems is further accelerating this foothold and has started to make its presence felt in the offline payments world as well. The government is actively working to enable an environment for businesses to infuse digital workflow to drive new efficiencies across virtually every sector of the Indian economy.

The faster, smaller, and less expensive hardware available today enables the computer algorithms of the 1990s to solve far more complex problems than they were previously capable of handling. With such rapid developments happening all around, I can’t resist thinking of the future – advancements, abilities and limitations.  It’ll be interesting to see how tomorrow’s healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment manufacturers will create data-driven products that will act as 24×7 care teams for patients. One of the fine names that stick out is Practo in India, which seems to have revolutionized the healthcare sector with their GEN Y tools and practices.

Imagine a scenario, where your doctor will prescribe a virtual doctor to watch over your vitals and other behaviors. Your phone will ring and a soothing voice will inform you to go home and relax as it monitors your heart rate and blood pressure.

When it comes to big data and AI, India may have woken up late to the global AI revolution, but today it is well on track to embrace and benefit from a much bigger evolution of big data analytics and AI.  As we step into the near future, it is important for everyone to come together to help build an AI ecosystem to not merely play catch up but instead, take a quantum leap into an AI-driven future.

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