“This (AI) is about augmenting human intelligence. When you step back and look at AI, yes there is hype, it will replace all jobs. We say look that’s not the right way to approach it. The correct way to say is that this set of artificial intelligence technologies will augment and assist humans to do their work better,” Ashvin Vellody, Partner, Deloitte India told indianexpress.com during an interaction.
According to a new report by Deloitte and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), AI could prove to be most beneficial in areas like agriculture, manufacturing, education and health care services in India.
Regarding AI and the ‘jobs’ crisis that often comes up, he said nothing is further from the truth. “AI will free the person to explore other upscaling areas that he or she might be interested in. It’ll allow mundane activity to be taken away,” he said pointing out that in many cases they are already seeing examples of dangerous activity being handed over to machines who can do the job better.
“It is activities, not the job that gets outsourced. We have seen in energy mining. The trends from both private sector and public sector organisations working in space show active use of AI. To inspect level of this natural resources in different parts of the ground, AI is being used, ” he pointed out.
Vellody says one needs to take a more holistic view when viewing the growing implementation of AI in enterprises across India. “In manufacturing, whether it is large scale production of goods, we see a substantial input of AI, ML. One way is to manage demand, to know how many units to produce, what not to produce. Then the other part is to understand your customers demand, and the customers better,” he said.
But he also notes that there are several challenges, including one where senior leadership in organisations will have to embrace AI. “Many times what is happening is these technologies suffer from what I call being in perpetual proof of concept (POC). We found that a large number of projects stop at the POC level. Second is that the data sets have to be good to make the use cases possible,” he said.
In his view, India has a unique potential for data sets to solve different problems, but notes that privacy issues and anonymisation of data cannot be ignored. He acknowledges there is hesitation and lack of clarity around privacy and AI, which pose a challenge.
According to the report, AI can also impact agriculture in India by helping the sector with accurate climate patterns, more sustainable irrigation and water management, which will be crucial in light of the growing water crisis in the country.
But there are challenges to AI implementation as the report notes. Cultural barriers, bridging the skills gap and the need of good quality data sets for reliable AI, along with the relatively higher costs of AI computation still need to be solved. Further the lack of transparency in decision making and poor accountability structures along potential bias and discrimination in AI decision add to the challenges.