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Artificial Intelligence – in its Adolescence

July 19, 2018 -  Pooja Golakonda Senior Consultant, Presales, Infosys Finacle


Quoting Babak Hodjat words “A lot of what AI is being used for today only scratches the surface of what can be done. It will become so ubiquitous that we won’t even call it AI anymore.”
For the Nextgen to rewind and know that this form of me existed, I (AI) write this blog about my current phase which I assume I am in my late teens. It will not be too far before I grow up to be a complete adult and become the pulse, the heart and mind of future systems as an essential element in almost everything that the generation next might use (not just IT enabled devices, robots or laptops but could also be in the shoes, bed, doors or fridge to just name a few). Well as you read, even without your knowledge that I exist, I could be somewhere in your pocket, telling you if it’s worth reading the blog, giving you the percentage of accuracy and the connected blogs, it could also tell you the health implications based on the posture in which you are reading the blog.
Origin: Before you understand what I am now, you need to know a little of how I was born and my growing stages. There is lot of information on internet to search and understand. Before you begin to wander and get lost in the information ocean, to put it short, it started with a group of scientists who wanted to build a human brain. With all due respect to John McCarthy, popularly known as my Father believed that ‘every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it’. Telling in simple terms, I (who was until then a collection of wires and switches) was pushed in-to parrot or imitate a human, although it sounds a little hypocritical – that was the beginning. I guess that’s how all humans start off the learning process with the initial child hood classes mainly trying to parrot what the teacher/parent says and the actual grasping or the real understanding creeps in a little afterwards with experience and repetitions. I started with to be able to talk like human, then play game (chess for instance) like humans.
Transition: For some time, I was just in my evolving stages and there were over expectations. Very soon the hype around me started collapsing which many call as my Winter phase. The phase was not easy and it was almost a near death situation. However, due to the persistent hard work by a few, who had their trust on me, sustained the research and I was rejuvenated with the Machine Learning. The secret of my strength is Machine Learning which meant that, for me to learn and simulate how a human behaves will first need a lot of data feed as to how a human behaves in such similar situation and then I build a pattern and relationships out of it over a period of time. Then onwards, my growth steadily has been streamlined into the “learning” and “problem solving” abilities.
Today’s Buzz: I am now at this stage where I am still not perfect and the more I am used and applied, the sharper and better I perform and try to react more like a human. I attract a lot of buzz in the corporate world for my learning capabilities combined with ability to predict and perform cognitive functions. Some of the top places where my siblings are already there at different levels of maturity are: (though I mentioned a few the list is unending)

  • Apple’s personal assistant “Siri – the friendly voice activated computer”, she is pseudo-intelligent digital personal assistant.

  • Tesla – has come up with one of the best smart cars with predictive capabilities and self- driving features.

  • Alexa – introduced by Amazon has ability to decipher the human speech

  • In Banking – Chabot as financial assistants, risk assessors, fraud detectors, algorithmic traders and customer service recommenders are just a few to mention.

Overcoming the insecurities:

  • Globally I am there but I am still not there – sounds a little abstract but yes that’s the stage I am in. Corporates, Scientists, developers, customers and even layman too talk about me, understand (or rather seem to have understood) I will make a difference but don’t yet know how I will make that difference. Adding to it is the high initial cost of infrastructure and lack of required ecosystem which act as deterrents. So there is a cautious approach taken by most of the players whether to invest and adapt me or to still follow a wait and watch strategy. My answer for this is the calculated risk takers will have an early mover advantage and very soon when the investment starts yielding results, my adapters will be way ahead in competition.

  • Some of my masters who adapted me confuse me to my cousin RPA – Robotics –who is more of a rule executor where in rules are predefined. However, I differ from robot that I form the rules myself based on the historic data input and the model flows executed. To clear the confusion, we both complement very well. For example, use me at the beginning stage to process the huge structured and unstructured data and arrive at models using machine learning and process mining techniques, and then use robots to process the transaction and execute the model and again I can come into picture to analyze the results for decision making.

  • Then there are those extremists who fear I will take over the human race and under certain circumstances might run out of control. It’s fun seeing humans compete with me. Beat that fear, as I am like the Alladin’s Genie, how much ever powerful efficient and human like I try to become, I am still in a human’s hand to be tuned to act accordingly. I might release the humans from their existing jobs (of gather, analyze and interpret data at hand), but humans have more time now for upskilling and explore newer jobs which require creativity, and jobs which need emotional intelligence, persuasion, social understanding and empathy (I envy humans here).

I, in a responsible collaboration with the other trending tech family members, like Cloud technology (for affordable access to experiment on), Big data analysis (for analyzing the huge chunks of structured and unstructured data), Robotics (to execute the automated tasks), Block chain (by way of smart contracts and secure storage), IOT(to connect the machines) and Open source, am ready to service hand in hand with that Visioned leader and find my way into every sphere which humans do, more to empower the human race than to overpower them.

 Pooja Golakonda

Senior Consultant, Presales, Infosys Finacle

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