Simplifying Endeavours with Innovative Technology Advancements

Rahul Kumar, CIO, ESSAR STEEL INDIA | Friday, 06 October 2017, 10:09 IST

In the past decade or so, AI has been very rap­idly changing the way we do things, and even things we can do. Very recently, I’ve came across an article mentioning AI generating ap­preciable poetry and prose. Now that’s been something unimaginable just two years back.

I believe smart phones have triggered all this high ve­locity technology innovation. They brought about massive consumption of social media, and need for connectivity everywhere brought in cloud services. Together with these technologies, are now generating the kind of data that was essential for training AI systems. This synergy has also generated a lot of new use cases, for which new AI algo­rithms have been designed. All this has set the ball rolling.

With advancements in computing, IoT and AI, now robotics is ready to scale new frontiers too. After all, it’s about putting brains into machines, and with CPUs and GPUs becoming smaller, more powerful and yet more power efficient. But I’ll say robotics is yet to see its prime.

Some noteworthy trends I believe are:

• Combining drones and machine vision

• AI and robotics in medical surgery and even OPD care

• Fraud detection

• Trading in financial markets

• Chatbots

• AI for law and taxation

Indispensable Factors Ameliorating Daily Life

Cost: These technologies have relevance in all spheres of life and I'm sure, a few years down the line, an intelligent robotic exoskeleton can help a paralysis patient walk and move like a healthy person at an affordable cost. Cost is one factor that determines penetration of a technology.

Time & Skill: With open source frameworks like Goo­gle Tensor Flow, Robot OS, and low cost compute boards like Raspberry Pi and Arduino, developers can easily ex­periment with them. As more talent entering into the mar­ket and commoditization of machine learning algorithms in form of frameworks, we are seeing an increase in AI and Robotic solution suppliers, which helps in bringing down solution costs.

Already, AI has very quietly entered in industries to do route and production plan optimization and data science is offering various insights for decision makers to make better and informed decisions. I foresee similar things happening in healthcare & medicine. However, these solutions will only revolutionize medicine and health­care, if they are available to mainstream users at afford­able price.

Personal physical robots are still a luxury in Indian context. It will need a commoditization of a very dif­ferent type. I'm looking forward towards commoditiza­tion of components like intelligent vision sensors that can sense and identify objects or gestures and communi­cate back results in standard ways, or speech recognition modules for different languages and accents. Currently, these things can be done in software, no doubt about it. By commoditization, coding and training cycles should be eliminated or at least minimized.

Demystifying Operational Tasks with Innovation

The software bots, more popularly known as chatbots have taken the customer services to a different level, both in terms of customer convenience and enterprise produc­tivity. All repetitive service calls can conveniently been routed to these Chatbot, allowing customer care execu­tives to focus on more complicated or adverse cases.

Chatbot have consistently appealed to consumers and are touted as the future of marketing for B2C companies. The reasons are obvious:

• Chatbot appeal to the younger demographic, have a global presence and an attractive and appealing nature to the rest of the audience.

• Since users interact with the Chatbot with a conversa­tion, it builds a rapport that is more effective than any picture or video advertisement. Users understand the brands better and marketers achieve the essential aim of advertising.

• Since users converse directly with the bot, the bot can remember personal choices of the users. Thus, it can offer a customized feel to the users.

All IoT related services always follow these five basic steps: Sense – Transmit – Store – Analyze - Act

IoT will produce a treasure trove of data. It’s human­ly impossible to study and comprehend “big data” with conventional methods. True value of any IoT service is determined at the “Analyze” step. It is a place for ma­chine learning – an AI technique, to play a crucial role. The final objective in any such IoT data collection is al­ways to analyze underlying situation & provide benefits to end user or business as a whole. IoT data combined with AI, will bring chaos in business and human life.

In general, there is a concern over robots taking over jobs of human. All new technologies will not permanent­ly dislocate workforce, but will move humans to new type of jobs. The market for AI and Robotics is obviously going to grow at a very high rate, and growth will come in both ways:

• Increased penetration in fields where the technologies are being already used in some form, and

• New areas of application

Irrespective of industry, manufacturing organizations are already adopting these technologies, and in developed countries, they are increasingly becoming part of day to day life. In a way, it is similar to adoption of computers in the early 80s.

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