Enterprise

Infosys: On how edge computing and blockchain will be key in different ways for AI

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Artificial intelligence (AI) has gone beyond the way of the buzzword, all hype and no substance. Indeed, the technology is being increasingly seen in the enterprise as important in concert with other technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing.

A report from KPMG last month explored how artificial intelligence would look to influence business. Among millennial respondents, AI came out on top as the biggest technological priority, ahead of IoT and 5G. Yet among those polled who said they were business leaders, it was less of a priority compared with robotic process automation (RPA). The report noted, however, that investing in RPA can be seen as a smoother route to future AI investment.

IT giant Infosys offers many opportunities for companies looking to invest in artificial intelligence to improve workplace productivity as well as enhance the customer experience. The company notes that customers are at different stages of their journeys depending on sector and use case; and that therefore a more nuanced approach is required.

Ahead of the AI & Big Data Expo event in Amsterdam later this month, AI News caught up with Dr. N. R. Srinivasa Raghavan, Chief Data Scientist, Data and Analytics at Infosys (left), to discuss the initiatives the company is putting together, as well as the industries set to benefit most long-term.

AI News: Tell us about the initiatives Infosys is putting together in the realm of artificial intelligence – and what have customers been saying?

NR: Infosys is developing several industry-oriented AI solutions, frameworks, and workbenches that can help solve business problems. Specifically, AI is being positioned for enhancing the productivity of day to day operations of our clients through automation, enable decision making at tactical and operational levels, and for better customer experience.

Our customers are at different stages of embracing AI. Depending on their needs, Infosys is able to craft solutions driven by a global team of experts in data sciences and AI, and help deploy these solutions at enterprise scale.

AI: Do you agree that many companies/vendors are using ‘AI-washing’ (much in the same way as cloud-washing years ago) and overplaying their artificial intelligence capabilities? If so – what does this mean for users and the industry at large?

NR: We believe it is not as easy to be deceptive in AI as in cloud. AI is more of an outcome heavy tech than cloud, which is more of an infrastructure play. Therefore, one can verify if indeed pattern matching and predictive science of AI is behind any software. Also, the expertise of resources working on AI projects is discernible in the quality of the output.

Nonetheless, there is possibly AI-washing in some very narrow areas like automation. It calls for better validations and governance to be put in place to weed these out.

AI: Which industries do you think are going to benefit most long-term from these kinds of technologies? How important is it that several emerging technologies – artificial intelligence, edge computing, blockchain – can all talk to each other and make each other better to provide greater business outcomes?

NR: Banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), retail, consumer product goods and logistics (RCL), and services, utilities, resources and energy (SURE), in that order.

While AI and edge computing need to work in synchronization for cases like real time predictions, integration with blockchain will be essential in the data layers of AI. Especially where the reliability, traceability and ‘sovereignty’ of data that is feeding AI is concerned.

AI: What is the most exciting use case you have seen with artificial intelligence to date? (can be business or consumer)

NR: AI for consumer experience, AI in risk/fraud detection, AI for predictive maintenance, AI for security and AI for business functions like HR, Finance etc. These will typically be cases where there is rich and reliable data available for the AI models to work upon, as well as areas where there is executive ownership and sponsorship.

AI: What advice would you give to companies looking to embark upon or modify their digital transformation initiatives?

NR: AI is largely seen as the harbinger for an automated/human-augmented workplace. It is therefore essential to have AI experts to be part of the blue printing for the next-gen digital enterprises. AI cannot be telescoped into digital transformation programs in large enterprises. It is no more a commodity tech, but a strategic one.

AI: What are you looking forward to most at the AI & Big Data Expo and what will you be looking to tell attendees while there?

NR: We are looking forward to hearing from other participants on their success and learnings in implementing AI within Big Data context. We are eager to share our own experience in pushing the frontiers for AI and its adoption within enterprise settings.

Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and their use cases? Attend the co-located AI & Big Data Expo events with upcoming shows in Silicon Valley, London, and Amsterdam to learn more. Co-located with the IoT Tech ExpoBlockchain Expo, and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo.

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