Written by Pia Krishnankutty
Meeting once a week, a group of about 15-20 businessmen, students, insurance workers, lawyers and travel agents come together to learn and discuss the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on future technology and jobs in India.
There is often a cross-pollination of ideas in the group — with participants aged between 18 and 45 years — to prove that AI is helpful to virtually any industry.
Wearing a blue-and-white striped jersey over his formal trousers in support of Argentina, 39-year-old Pramod Misra was gripped by football fever, and as he explained the World Cup season celebrated in his office added to his excitement. Apart from football, the Vodafone product analyst like many other working professionals, recently took a keen interest in AI and how it could be applied in real life. Misra is the group initiator and has been organizing the sessions for the last six months.
Misra said, “If you want to learn how to drive, you don’t have to be an automobile engineer to get the car going. Similarly, with AI, you do not need a Masters degree in technology to use it for your business.” AI is a powerful self-learning machine tool, for several, it is a helping hand in expanding a business or strengthening software, he added.
Ajuni Chawla, a 21-year-old law student from Juhu, said, “I am currently building a plug-in software that is like a shortcut for curating legal documents, contracts or agreements. At present, other paralegals tediously write and draw up these contracts,” she said. Her software, she added, would not put paralegals out of work but rather ease their workload so that they could focus more on productive tasks. “It was at the AI meet where I learnt which platforms would be suitable to build my software,” she said. Neha Tiwari Misra, who runs a mutual fund consultancy for women, uses prediction model to advise women on what and where to invest through advisors who work on a commission basis. “The group taught me that machine-produced algorithms make for more accurate prediction models. Now, my company is being upgraded to automated models so that we are not dependent on advisors.” Pranshu Diwan, 31, a health insurance worker with a background in machine learning is also a part of this six-month-old AI learning group.
“We have discussed how AI has led to better algorithms in data prediction. For me, it helps predict which customer will stay with the company, who is likely to renew their insurance policy, who else would be interested in us and how should we approach them.”