Overall Take

India needs another Pokhran Test – except that this time we don’t need to keep it a secret. But we mustn’t hesitate and should lead from the front with innovations around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Quantum Computing. For the next big global win, we need to automate decision-making for the world with the power of AI and crack the code for Quantum Computing. Our Founding Partners, Sunil Goyal and Girish Shivani, attended the 2019 BCI Summit, in New York between May 10 & 12 and brought back these insights…

International dinner crew – BCI Summit
(Left to Right: Girish Shivani, Nikhil Madan – e-navik, Ashish Jain, Sunil K Goyal and Khing Oei – AlphaSwap)

Sectors Most Prone to Disruption by AI

  • For this, startups must have access to data across enterprises, e.g. the recruiting problem cannot be leveraged by just training AI with data from a single enterprise. The marketplace approach across enterprises can help overcome traditional biases.
  • On the other hand, adoption of AI will be more in enterprises as they operate in a controlled environment. Enterprises are paranoid about security and privacy of data and may not allow sharing on the cloud. Startups need to seek on-premise solutions where data in all forms, collected over the years, is fed to computers to enhance productivity, e.g. #Insurtech by Arya.ai.
  • We need AI excitement to continue. Investor euphoria and momentum are essential for AI to attract the best minds and talent. Funding, too, is required to support AI’s product lifecycle.
  • Before adopting AI, think through the decision-tree: human-led and human-made or human-led but machine-assisted or machine-led and human-assisted or machine-led but human-governed or solely machine-controlled decisions… Healthcare AI inputs are helping doctors make better decisions.
  • Similarly, AI startups need to provide explainable AI – i.e. when the AI system produces a prediction or a decision, we don’t want a black box answer but need an explanation by AI on how that decision or conclusion was arrived at.
  • Upcoming areas for AI deployment include Conversational AI: Voice Remote, Automation of Customer Care, Monitoring of Field Force. And Uniphore is at the cutting edge with its solutions here.
  • Edge Computing, represented by distributed intelligence, makes far more sense as it is driven by lower latency and greater privacy (keeping sensitive data at the device level) with higher reliability.
  • Opportunities exist in operations and maintenance of manufacturing plants with digital twinning of these plants on the cloud for better lifecycle management of assets leading to predictive control. Industrial IoT, drone imagery recognition and real-time feedback will change the way industrial infrastructure is managed.
  • With the democratization of AI, the age of lifelong careers is likely to be over. Reskilling during your productive life will be the norm, and human minds need to overcome this new challenge.
  • AI-based systems around enterprises are offering quick ROI and, hence, encouraging faster adoption by Enterprises.
  • AI helps improve situational awareness: for instance, at the site of a disaster (earthquake, fire whatever) AI can add to what human eyes and ears observe, thus making inferences more effective.
  • The critical question for DeepTech investors – due to the fund-life, are VC funds constrained to invest in new technologies like AI, Quantum Computing? Do we need a 15-year extended investment outlook? Instead, let each stakeholder play its role: early-stage VCs should be looking at secondary sales to PE investors who are looking to exit in IPOs subsequently, while the entrepreneur continues to build the enterprise.

Instant use case of Blockchain

  • All financial assets, payments, rewards, loyalty programs can be tokenized with Blockchain. It can democratize access to capital and open up doors like never before. It can also remove layers created by middlemen and offer flexibility for fractional ownership, transparency, trust and faster transaction at much lower costs. For example, an Uber driver can be given ownership through tokens representing its equity holding.

Quantum Computing is Happening for Real

  • Companies like D-Wave and PsiQuantum are in advanced stages of offering Quantum use cases. They claim to be much ahead of IBM and Google in their stage of development and the number of Q-bit technologies on offer.
  • Users have to be aware that today, all data is vulnerable to security while the transaction is in process or the public key is exposed. This is where Quantum Cryptography can play an important role in protecting sensitive data flowing through the ubiquitous pipes of information.

Privacy Debate requires deep-thinking

  • Law will continue to follow technology globally. Privacy strategy includes minimization of data collected, storing data on local devices rather than the cloud, and reducing the period for which it is retained.
  • Internet connectivity will be a norm for consumer electronics products and appliances. All these connected points will generate incredible amounts of data which has to be protected as well as interpreted, in real-time for faster decision-making.
  • Today, we may be happy to give up personal data for health and fitness; but imagine the same reaching your insurance company to determine the policy premium or during the renewal of your policy.

Conclusion

There are many opportunities around AI and Big Data. These will be accompanied by challenging questions that startups need to answer not just from a customer perspective but also keeping the future in mind and the interplay between man and machine. Never before have times been as interesting – and as intriguing – like these.