A New World Order is Taking Shape

Vishal Dhupar, Managing Director, NVIDIA - South Asia

Technology has changed tracks in case you hadn’t noticed. The age of gigabytes has now made way for terabytes and zetabytes. The terms currently being flung around are big data, information overload, machine learning, etc. The writing is on the wall, the age of AI is here.

AI (Artificial Intelligence) is the way forward in the current century. After making it known to us through books and movies it is now a part of our daily lives. It is present in our phones, in the medical centers where health diagnosis is done, in the cars we drivepretty much a lot of touch points that we encounter daily. The firm conviction is that AI will work with researchers and data scientists to make sense of the overwhelming amounts of data available by filtering through it to find information.

AI is being used successfully in fields as varied as healthcare and diagnostics, archeology, retail, automotive and of course, research. For instance, AI can be used to reveal text found on ancient papyrus that was buried by natural disasters thousands of years ago.

To make the AI story successful technology has adopted GPU-accelerated computing which has added exponential speed to computing power making it much simpler to sift through vast quantities of data really quickly. Scientists and researchers can now do molecular-scale replications to determine the effectiveness of a life-saving drug, to visualize the human body in 3D, or do simulations to discover how the universe works. In spite of the naysayers, the simple truth is that the world has tilted towards AI and that trend is here to stay.

Let’s take a look at two areas that benefit tremendously from artificial intelligence –

Sales – Customer interactions that have been fine-tuned by AI are much smarter and every interaction adds value. It goes without saying that for a salesperson to predict with a fair amount of accuracy, where to spend his/her time the right type of data is crucial.

The use of intelligence in handling contact with customers is shaping a new type of customer service. One which is more receptive and better informed.

Healthcare – The coming of AI has been heralded in some quarters as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Digital capacities are growing at a phenomenal speed and by 2020 it will reach a mind-boggling 44 trillion gigabytes (44 zetabytes). And this amazingly large world of big data can only be ‘managed’ with the help of AI.

In India research is being done which simplifies the preparatory procedures for the biopsy of cancerous tissues and in the efficient treatment of diabetic retinopathy.

The biggest challenge in healthcare has been the organizing of the enormous amount of data currently available so that the physician has all the information needed to make an accurate diagnosis. It is now recognized that AI is the only solution to this. At present, IBM’s Watson is the 800 pound gorilla in cognitive computing for healthcare but the space is gradually getting crowded by other big and small names.

Lift the curtain and take a peek into the future of healthcare and you will see the stuff that science fiction is made of. Like data mining of medical records to provide more targeted treatment. And personalized treatment where AI can access data from the patient’s clinical reports as well as external data and suggest a treatment that is specifically tailored.

Another stunning development in the works is the creation of a health assistant capable of analytical and cognitive capabilities that can analyze radiology images reliably and fast and pinpoint the problem. There is a lot more in the works and the results ensure that healthcare is on a high growth trajectory where a significant part of the treatment will be done by unseen minds working quietly in the background.

While a lot has been said for and against AI the fact remains that the benefits outweigh the problems. An over-riding concern of governments is its effect on jobs and how it will take away many low-level jobs. However, experts argue on behalf of the profound positive impact that AI can deliver. By dealing with ethical dilemmas with sensitivity and concern organizations can swing public opinion in favour of AI. That way everyone wins.