"It's Only A Brief Matter Of Time That Robots Start Taking Care Of Themselves"

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The technology and working of Artificial Intelligence is much appreciated. Intriguing too. The world has great plans for this nascent technology and Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator gave us enough reasons to believe in its goodness. Yet, when tech gurus and geniuses like Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking themselves fear the advancement of artificial technology to a level of electronic apocalypse, we can hardly accept it in the right spirits.

Entrepreneur India
Kaiesh Vohra, CEO and Co-founder, Lucep

However, AI has evolved and will evolve and we are definitely moving towards a more robotic future but artificial intelligence does not have to be necessarily creepy. It is being used in different sectors and will have huge impact on our day to day lives in days to come. But to what extent? Kaiesh Vohra, CEO and Co-founder of Lucep, is already striving to improve human-machine relationship and has answers to questions like above which he shares with us at Entrepreneur India Annual Convention 2016.

How do you think AI has evolved?

If we think about AI as an intelligence system, historically what humans are used to is mechanization or automation where you can take a standard task and automate it, so it processes and does its job. Artificial Intelligence adds to that pace and the power of decision making. So regular routine machines don’t make decision, they just act, whereas with AI, you encode the data differently into a form of knowledge representation. This empowers the machines to evaluate its environment and make a decision to achieve its objective. When you cup all this with machine learning it actually learns from past experience and what you train it with. Its successes and failures help it to become better. We’ve recently made astounding leaps inside this field which is where you’re seeing the entire latest buzz coming from. Research has advanced quite significantly, thanks to computing powers, digital methods, and it has helped us step forward in terms of enhancing the way machine can learn, store and process that data.  

How is this shift likely to take place?

What we’re about to see is very significant shift in what machines can do for us. Just take the simple act of talking to some over the phone. Historically, we’ve always thought that it’s only people who can talk to us. You have the large guys like Google which has released the speech API that now allows that to take streaming audio, convert it into streaming text, and have a machine render it and understand what you’re saying in real time. It’s only a little bit further and you will be to actually re-render that as a response in text of speech in a way that a human won’t be able to tell the difference. If you think of Telecalling, it is going from buildings and buildings of people go down to two racks instead of several. So there’s a huge volume of jobs which are going to be impacted just like this.

What sectors will be impacted by AI?

It’s a very general question to ask because today we can’t directly see exactly what’s going to change. So if you take something simple like making a potato chip and getting into the supermarket for somebody to buy, there are a lot of people involved in that process. Startups exist today which can mechanise that whole thing and on top of that, add an eye to it so that there are no humans involves except for the eating. Farming can be done by robots. They can pull weeds out with their hands.

White collar jobs are as impacted. Let’s see what Lucep does with data size. Small businesses can’t afford their own data scientists to sit and analyse data. Our AI does it for you. It segments your customers for you, redesigns your site so that you can engage with your customer in an ideal way.  Historically, this required people. So, white collar jobs are equally impacted.

How do you see the economy changing with and because of AI?

India in the next four years is projected to have the youngest workforce in the world. Some big questions come up here. What are they trained to do and what is it that they’re trained to do that is going to be impacted. Today, the volume of jobs in agriculture in India has gone down but a sudden leap downwards will cause big problems. But that’s what can come because we’re already seeing robotics going into the farms. So now you’ll have drones that will survey the ground, robots doing all the planting and weeding by themselves. So, the impact to those set of jobs will be large in terms of what it is we’re training our youth for today. So what they know today will be relevant ten years later because all the jobs that are coming up are either machine assisted or machine controlled. So we will soon have to be working very closely with robotics. Take doctors and IBM’s Watson. The impact IBM is having on the medical profession is huge.  What you’re going to find is that there is ability for us to   serve patients better.

Today’s there one very simple thing that human have failed to do as quickly as machine is learn. Because one doctor that sees one case here knows that and his immediate circle knows that or maybe he publishes a paper about it and a couple more people get to see it. With Watson, it just has to do one case and all other Watson deployments know what’s happened and they learn much faster. You got other India startups in this space, like Flutura which are doing machine management. We thought that we could have jobs in making machines and maintaining robots, but what Flutura is doing is that it is actively working to allow machines to monitor themselves. It’s only a brief matter of time that robots start taking care of themselves. It’s a very big question to think what jobs will be left for us and you cannot see what you don’t know yet. 

(With inputs from Sandeep Soni)