The flip side of AI
Biased decisions taken by AI have been a recurring threat to industries deploying it and to the ethical norms of the society at large. While unbalanced decisions affect business outcomes, biases related to gender and race negatively impacts the social fabric. Expert AI luminaries are anxious about the biasness apparent in these machine–learning algorithms that take millions of decisions every minute.
AI-enabled machines reflect a persona basis the kind of data that they are fed. As a result, they acquire biases from the datasets that they are fed and cannot be immune to human biases. No wonder, biased data will make them take biased decisions. Combating biases, both human and data-based, is one of the biggest ethical challenges that AI is faced with. What’s more alarming is that the problem is expected to become more severe in the near future. This is because many are yet to realize the magnitude of the impact that feeding biased data will have on businesses. Therefore, steps are yet to be taken to identify solutions to the compelling problem.
The need for an open discussion
NASSCOM Product Conclave took the initiative to launch a platform for the industry to openly discuss different opinions on the subject. We planned a Twitter Campaign with the hashtag #DeconstructingAI, on 31st January 2018 at 4 P.M. on our Twitter handle, @NASSCOM_Product. The purpose was to discuss our polarising ideas and see the subject from different points of view and attempt to have Tech experts bust some myths and perceptions.
The debate was centred on 5 key questions.
The industry responded and it was Overwhelming!
Industry experts including Sridhar Iyengar (European Explorer, Zoho &Product Council Member, NASSCOM), Sangeeta Gupta (Director, NASSCOM), Subinder Khurana (Product Council Member, NASSCOM), Atul Batra (CTO, Manthan & Product Council Member, NASSCOM), Praveen Nallapaneni (Deputy Manager, NASSCOM) and Srikanth Srinivasan (Regional Director TS & AP NASSCOM) joined in the conversations.
The Tweet Chat on #DeconstructingAI was a great success generating over 200 responses within 30 minutes of the chat and driving over 802K impressions on Twitter alone. We’re eagerly looking forward to the next one!
If you could not join the tweetchat and would like to share your responses, comment below.
In order to get new customers, build a wider audience, and find new sales & investment opportunities every day, taking your startup to the global level is what you need. You see, global market is like a sea of opportunities where you can customize your strategies according to the regions you are targeting, and also mitigate the market risks over a larger area, in order to lessen their effect on your business.
Here are some of the advantages of globalizing your business, neatly arranged in points:
But then, while entering the global market, you and your team will have to keep certain things in mind, some of which are:
Research regional data
Startups can overestimate a market’s willingness to try a new, foreign product, so it’s important to research data points that can help determine whether or not a product will find success in a certain region. This data can also help with marketing. The information that we get from sources is important for marketing and sales teams trying to reach a local market. Before stepping in to the arena, make sure that you have enough intrinsic information and knowledge on the targeted region.
Make local partners
Open an office and set up local operations in new areas. This will get your business local partners that can help you grow in the region a lot.
Local partners understand the market better than others, which means they know how to reach and build a community in the region. While high-level decision-making can continue at the executive level, local partners’ opinion matters big time and can help you get major gains with their expertise in the region.
Prepare to change statics for different markets
Switching to new statics may help you in achieving success in different types of markets. All you have to keep up with is the fact that the statics that work in one market may not work in another market. There is a chance that a startup can implement the same strategy which one already used in different market when expanding globally.
Startups might have to supply their products in order to meet consumer demand. Some marketing strategy that work in one country might not be as necessary for another, or competitors might have already captured. Startups should update their product according to the trends in technology or producing new features based on the new market’s needs and wants. The startups that can quickly shift are most likely to find much more success than competitors.
Sell globally without opening an office
Startups have the option of being a global company from day one, working from anywhere in the world. By adopting multinational practices from the beginning, startups can take advantage of technological skills sets from around the world — Since no one will really care where the company is based. This tactic can give startups a competitive advantage since they can reduce costs in terms of office space.
In case you have an app development company, your path to grow globally is much easier as an app has is present in everywhere. The desire to grow with app is really helpful, but what makes your app successful is mobile app development company Vancouver, that holds the required expertise and genuinely collaborate with you to develop your dream app.
FuGenX is the best mobile application development Toronto. FuGenX provides services on Android, iOS (iPhone and iPad), Blackberry and Windows app development.
NASSCOM Product Connect hosted an AI Roundtable in Gurgaon on the theme of `AI-Platform Play’. An engaging discussion with a diverse group of stakeholders – startups, VCs, accelerators, industry leaders, GICs all brainstormed on the impact of AI. My 5 takeaways from the session included:
Product Name: Apiculus Xaas Cloud Convergence platform
Name of Organization: IndiQus Technologies
At the helm: Sunando Bhattacharya, K.B. Shiv Kumar, Swati Samaddar
Year of Incorporation: 2013
Vertical/Horizontal Play: Cloud space
“It is important to keep focusing on your business, especially if you don’t have the luxury of funding. Cash is king and today, we are a fairly cash flow-driven company that pays attention to collections and paying its vendors”.
- Sunando Bhattacharya, Cofounder & CEO
Innovation: IndiQus has deep domain knowledge in Managed Cloud services and has developed Open and flexible solutions that service providers, enterprises and telcos can adopt to enhance their Return on Investment.
Its innovations provide Cloud business solutions to these organizations, setting up Clouds in emerging markets, and transforming enterprises and service providers into businesses running on the Cloud.
About the product: IndiQus’ apiculus CSP is a Cloud Business Platform software which enables Cloud service providers to sell “anything-as-a-service” (XaaS) and create a 360 degree customer engagement. A one-stop solution for Cloud service providers, the product enables them to manage, analyze and monetize XaaS Cloud offerings. The software has been built for the needs of emerging markets. apiculus CSP is being used by large telecom companies as their primary Cloud business portal.
Journey so far: The company was set up in 2013 as a systems integrator, a boutique consulting firm, whose Founders had around 15-17 years of experience in the cloud computing space. The company shifted gears in 2015, working to productize and turn its Cloud-building processes into ready-to-deploy solutions. As it began offering an integrated story to enterprises, it got a chance to set up a Cloud implementation for Sri Lanka Telecom. At that time, IndiQus was deploying a third-party product from Citrix which was built for European markets. Then, however it decided to develop a product for emerging markets, where it saw a Cloud surge. The company began signing up customers that would help it to build the product. In 2015, it tied up with Airtel and in June 2016, delivered the product to the customer. It is now in the second version of the product and the third version will be out at the end of the year.
Recognizing that in smaller countries there is demand from governments for data residency, IndiQus also began setting up micro Amazons (mini-Clouds) in nations such as Estonia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Malaysia, and Indonesia, which it scales as the business grows. The company adopted an on-premise model, selling to companies that are using its platform to deliver to their customers.
Among the challenges it faced in its journey was a loss of direction in the early days, when finances were a problem. At that time, IndiQus found itself spending more time on raising funds than building its business. Dealing with the government also proved to be a big issue. Initially, the company was slapped with fines because it was unable to file its returns owing to archaic laws and an apathetic and unsupportive attitude of the government towards start-ups.
Way forward: IndiQus acquired Dartboard, a company which works in predictive analytics, in 2017 (while it took over data analytics start-up Amicus in 2016), to enhance its product portfolio with the much-in-demand analytics solutions for Cloud platforms. It has also on-boarded a dedicated Data Scientist who is building various models for enhancing customer data visibility on the Cloud and deriving actionable intelligence from this data.
“My advise to other start-ups is that they should be sure before they jump on to the bandwagon. It is a very challenging journey. But once they are sure, they need to give it their full commitment regardless of the difficulties. They shouldn’t enter the market for the heck of it”.
Product Name: FirstHive
Name of Organization: eMart Solutions
At the helm (all cofounders’ names): Aditya Bhamidipaty
Year of Incorporation: 2015
Vertical/Horizontal Play: domain of Sales and Marketing
“We are excited about engaging with a marquee organization such as NASSCOM. We create a lot of in-house White Papers on marketing. Since we have the only product in the market that does what it does, we are keen to leverage the NASSCOM platform to building thought leadership in the field of marketing”.
-- Aditya Bhamidipaty, Founder/CEO, eMart Solutions
Innovation: eMart discovered significant opportunities in the Sales and Marketing space, where it saw a need for brand building through personalized communication with consumers and helping enterprises drive efficiencies in the marketing matrix. It innovated to develop a product that could talk to consumers personally, where instead of broadcasting one message, companies could have a unique conversation with each consumer.
About the product: The company conceived FirstHive in order to send the right message to the right person, through the right channel, at the right time. It was developed as a multi-channel, on-demand loyalty engine that would build Unique Customer Identities by collecting data from all sources of customer interactions.
Journey so far: eMart began working on the product in July, 2015 and launched it in January, 2016. In October, 2016 it introduce a beta for international users. Within four-five months there were 1,100 trials of the product from 64 countries! The company gathered feedback on the product’s functionality from this beta and began to build partnerships with systems integrators and resellers.
One of the big challenges that eMart faced during its journey was putting in place the right team and getting the right resources who could design and execute the product and put in place a robust product management plan.
Way forward: eMart has acquired good customers in India and is now aiming to address the needs of clients in the ASEAN and North American geos.
The company will also continue to focus on helping Fortune 500 and Forbes 2000 companies to create and manage large loyalty and customer/channel programs while delivering measurable RoI.
Product Name: Elastic Beam
Name of Organization: Elastic Beam
At the helm (all cofounders’ names): Uday Subbarayan and Bernard Harguindeguy
Year of Incorporation: 2015
Website: Elastic Beam
Vertical/Horizontal Play: Security
Innovation: Recognizing that guaranteeing the security of the API infrastructure of organizations was critical, Elastic Beam innovatively combined Artificial Intelligence and real-time techniques to develop a product that protected API investments from cyber attacks. The product’s innovation lies in the fact that unlike generic behavioral analytics tools that don’t take into account API-specific usage, it leverages its in-depth API intelligence to provide a precise and accurate detection of API misuse.
About the product: The company’s Cloud neutral solution encompasses API Behavioral Security (for detecting, reporting and preventing cyber attacks on data and applications exposed through APIs of companies) and the API Artificial Intelligence engine (that blocks ongoing attacks on API gateways, API Management platforms or APIs directly). It is available for hybrid Clouds, Public Clouds or on-premise.
Journey so far: Elastic Beam began its journey in 2014, when it brainstormed on its security product. Based on the existing experience and expertise of its Founders, it thought it appropriate to build an automated solution in the security space. It took the company five-to-six months to put the plan together.
One of the key challenges the company faced initially was finding the right people for the job, as engineers did not have a clear understanding of how to build an infrastructure start-up. Also, since it was building an infrastructure product for the first time, it was felt that monitoring had to be done on a regular basis.
Way forward: The company is looking to expand its sales and marketing as well as engineering teams for business development. Product innovation will continue to happen as the product evolves. The company is already in the third generation of the product.
We are bringing you session summaries fromNPC 2017 in a series of blogs. This one is based on the opening session.
Mr Atul Batra, the CTO of Manthan Systems & the Chair – NASSCOM Product Council welcomed all participants to the 14th edition of NPC Bangalore, which is now widely regarded as the most important event for software product companies. The audience was a diverse mix of people, across the globe – especially from the Bay Area. Besides the industry folks we also had the investors and people from the academia. In terms of the quality of participants it could not have been more wholesome. He thanked Ravi Gururaj, the previous Product Council Chair for having created such a robust platform. There was a special mention of the network of volunteers and partners who had helped most industriously to put the conclave together.
As he introduced the theme, “Innovation fueling India’s digital revolution” he remarked that India was in an advantageous position, because unlike the western countries it wasn’t burdened with a legacy which made it easier for us to leapfrog towards digital. And, that product companies were leading this revolution. Perhaps for the first time, NPC Bangalore was witnessing the participation of a large number of Chief Digital Officers, a growing tribe of professionals who are instrumental in driving change through digital, and it was a great opportunity to interact with them. While briefly touching upon the format of the event he urged everyone to increase engagement through tweets, blogs and such other formats. With that he invited MR Rangaswami the Cohost of NPC.
This was MR’s 8th straight year at the global conclave. He introduced the next speaker, the Chairman of NASSCOM who is commonly regarded as the Father of the BPO Industry, Mr Raman Roy. Earlier, in the previous evening, the council had prevailed upon Mr Raman Roy to be dressed in casuals and forsake his characteristic corporate attire. A nugget which the speaker readily agreed to in a jovial manner.
The startup ecosystem is shaping up to be a digital powerhouse and a 1 trillion $ digital economy as envisaged by PM Modi was well within bounds given the rapid rate of adoption and talent available in the country. Rambunctiously, he pointed to the audience and declared authoritatively that “it’s YOU who will make it happen” which instantaneously drew a loud round of cheer. Advanced Technologies were fundamentally changing customer experiences and in the midst of all this the importance of cybersecurity products can never be over-emphasized. As the recent spate of Ransomware attacks would bear testimony. Having weathered the Funding Winter of 2016, it was back to the fundamentals once again – RoI and unit economics.
The front row seats were tagged as reserved. In Delhi, Raman Roy remarked, it would have meant nothing as people are accustomed to flouting rules with gumption. Whereas in Bangalore he was rather surprised to see people abiding by the norms. Roy added that he wasn’t sure whether to be delighted or worried, this of course on a lighter vein. Entrepreneurs are meant to be rule breakers! Finally, his messaging was about creating employment opportunities and not to remain contented as job seekers. The Product Conclave every year brought together a robust ecosystem to discuss and deliberate on a range of issues – a mighty step forward towards fostering the ecosystem, he acknowledged.
Product Name: Cardiotrack
Name of Organization: Uber Diagnostics
At the helm: Ashim Roy and Avin Agarwal
Year of Incorporation: 2013
Website: Uber Diagnostics
Vertical/Horizontal Play: Healthcare vertical
Innovation: As it became operational in 2012, Uber Diagnostics realized that lack of cardiac diagnostic facilities both in terms of expensive equipment and expertise at the family care level was making it difficult to provide good cardiac healthcare in India’s urban, rural and tier 2 cities. The ability to understand the output of the machines was another challenge as was the paucity of cardiologists. The company decided to develop an innovative solution that was low-cost, simple-to-use by a physician and whose output could be made available to a cardiologist or its Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform to get a quick and efficient diagnosis.
About the product: The company’s automated, disruptive healthcare diagnostics solution, Cardiotrack, uses AI, Machine Learning and Data Analytics to analyze the scans of ECGs to provide accurate predictive diagnosis and interpretation for faster cardiac intervention. It ensures that even if a cardiologist is not immediately available, an accurate diagnosis is done to save a life.
Journey so far: Ashim Roy and Avin Agarwal had a chance meeting that led the duo to discuss the gaps in the domain of cardiovascular diseases in India. The two decided to do something about it together and conceived the idea of the company. Initially, the organization faced many challenges including its inability to develop an in-house AI platform owing to lack of expertise, time and funding. It licensed a solution from a French company to deliver it at the ground level.
The company took a bank loan and after its clinical trials were over, went to overseas investors in Singapore to fund its venture.
Way forward: Uber is looking to develop its own AI once it can raise the necessary funds. It will set up its own R&D team for AI and expand its solution by adding the parameters of diabetes and hypertension. Uber will also look beyond India and target the US market.
by Kavish Kothari and Ramkumar Narayanan
Enterprise Digital Transformation is driving the future strategies of enterprises worldwide with over $1T expected to be spent over the next 5 years in making digital core to how organizations will cater to their customers, open new business avenues and make their employees much more efficient using technology.
In a first of its kind forum, over 80 Digital CxOs from some of the largest Indian Enterprises and Product Leaders came together at the Nasscom Product Conclave 2017 which was attended by over 2000 delegates, to have a free exchange of ideas about achieving impactful transition of businesses to use digital at its core. The key agenda item which drove the overall discussions was “changing customer demand across industries and sectors”.
The new-age customer is well-informed, quality & service conscious, and mobile. In today’s inter-connected world to stay competitive, organizations need to have single view of their customer, cost-efficient customer acquisition & retention strategy, well defined mobile/online strategy, and overall nimbleness in their decision making. To achieve this goal, product managers need to develop/procure relevant tech solutions in close co-ordination with the business CXOs. Organizations need to evaluate their overall business and tech strategy considering the hiring, training, and retention of their existing & future talent.
Some of the key insights derived from the sessions are as below:
The overall sessions were insightful and there was tremendous interest in continuing this type of an exchange of ideas, that Nasscom will strive to facilitate.
We are bringing you session summaries fromNPC 2017 in a series of blogs. This one is based on the session of Kishore Biyani, Founder & CEO, Future Group.
Towards the end of the day, at times the energy levels can drop. Especially when the day has been rather intense. At NPC Bangalore the end of Day 1, we had the much respected Kishore Biyani, Founder & CEO, Future Group to perk us up – and how he did! In conversation with Siddharth Zarabi, Executive Editor, BTVI.
On being asked, what drew him to the conclave, he retorted, “because we are in real business and not an imaginary one”, cheekily taking a dig at futurists. He added, that sometimes it almost felt like that a new religion was being created, referring to the swathe of new technologies that are available. There are only 7 tunes, 5 colours, 9 emotions and 10 actions – life is not as complex as it is often made out to be, yet underscoring the need to keep things simple.
To build brands, one needs to have a deep understanding of technology which gets the desired results. Technology increases human capability, creates more available time for increased human interaction, but understand this - he emphasized - humans will have to kill time anyway and will always seek new ways of doing it. We found out later that this was an oblique reference to many app-based solutions for problems which never really exists to begin with.
He also spoke about mini drones and their impact on retail. Retail 1.0 was about brick-and-mortar, Version 2 was about e-commerce and now Retail 3.0 is what he calls “Tathastu” - ask and we will deliver. In comparison, he likened Version 2 to an electronic typewriter. The Tathastu version will have all features imaginable – you can shop physically, activate through voice, app, call etc. just about any interface without any dearth of choices whatsoever.
They are pretty ruthless about data. Customer behavior is deconstructed methodically with the help of data, and heaps of it. He touched upon the heterogeneity of the Indian market which is best captured through 72 major festivals. At Future Group, they had created an almanac of sorts on India – its cultures, mythology and the likes. Both subjective and transactional data were used.
But, the consumer is changing very rapidly and sometimes in more ways than retailers can fathom. Packaged popcorn, recently introduced in stores, most surprisingly, clocked daily sales upwards of 1 lakh even surpassing the more common bhujia. This wasn’t their “gut feel” at the time but a subsequent revelation from data analysis. On being asked about the phenomenal success of Patanjali, he had no qualms about saying that they stored this brand as well. Perhaps Baba Ramdev’s incredible mass appeal was what it was all about.
Also on competition, especially 5 years hence, Kishore Biyani remained candid and remarked that competition was always welcome and not to be shied away from. He didn’t sound too upbeat about the idea of serving the “Bottom of the Pyramid.” In his opinion, there’s nothing at the bottom. A rural consumer on an average consumes only about 100 SKUs in a year; in comparison his urban counterpart consumes about 60 – 70 k SKUs annually. The returns were just not attractive enough to think big in those markets.
3 Key Challenges: Managing the speed of change; managing people who do not believe in you and making others believe in your vision, said Biyani majestically as he signed off.
Product Name: Hug SmartWatch
Name of Organization: Hug Innovations
At the helm: Raj Neravati
Year of Incorporation: October, 2014
Website: Hug Innovations
Vertical/Horizontal Play: Security and lifestyle
“I could not have imagined that Foxconn, the company which manufactures Apple products, will one day be our own manufacturing partner for the Smartwatch. The fact is that all through the company’s journey of hardships, I remained persistent, didn’t give up and created a world-class product and organization”.
--Raj Neravati, Founder and CEO, Hug Innovations
Innovation: Hug Innovations has developed the Hug Smartwatch, which is not only a promise of safety, but also the world’s first gesture-controlled device. Hug innovated a wearable Smartwatch with an SOS button that a person in danger can press. The watch sends an SMS with a live tracking URL to the family and friends. When people click on the URL they can track the wearer in real time. Interestingly, the watch has customized maps to show the user the nearest hospitals and police stations—basically emergency services they can contact if family and well-wishers are not available.
About the product: Besides the safety story, the Hug Innovations Smartwatch has several features such as gesture control that can be used by wearers to turn up the music, dim lights, play console games, switch presentation slides or fly a remote controlled drone! It also serves as a kids, fitness and pet tracker.
The journey so far: Greatly impacted by the Nirbhaya gang rape case in New Delhi in 2012, Raj Neravati decided to relocate to Hyderabad, India from the US and look deeply at the issue of women’s security. Hug Innovations came into being in 2014, as a promise of safety.
The journey was challenging for the company from the very start, since its Founder, Raj Neravati, did not have the necessary hardware background or deep hardware knowledge and there were no accelerators to guide or support the company. Building the right team in fact was hard and Raj Neravati had to let go of people and even replace the team.
Way forward: Hug will be adding smaller products to meet the needs of specific audiences. From a platform point of view, the company has envisioned an IoT platform that can control any device through gestures and has invited application developers to create apps that can run on its Open developer platform.
We are bringing you session summaries from NPC 2017 in a series of blogs. This one is based on the session of Shashi Seth, Sr. VP, Oracle Marketing Cloud.
Shashi Seth, Sr. VP, Oracle Marketing Cloud was our first speaker immediately after the inaugural. He was rather excited to be at NPC Bangalore and share some of his insights with us. Before that, our Emcee briefly touched upon the success of products which only have a cloud presence.
The most important thing about innovation and we have often said it, is about building a certain culture which is supportive of this philosophy. In San Francisco about 10 years back it was a hellish experience to get a cab from the airport late at night. Rude drivers, exorbitant rates all added to the commuter’s woes. Then suddenly in 2010, things changed dramatically with the advent of Uber. Issues which hounded travelers suddenly became irrelevant. Lyft and Uber combined, employ over a million drivers today. Very few industries are known to have created 1 million jobs in 7 years. Then there’s the example of Google Home, which has changed lives beyond imagination. Simply by talking into the device, one can get the best of services in the comfort and confines of their homes without human intervention.
Some of the things that AI is able to do is simply remarkable. It’s not only solving big problems for us but adding finer details to our daily lives which makes it all so worthwhile. Boundaries are getting pushed and all this is being done with lesser people. Twenty-five years back NASA had in its rolls (including network of partners) about a million people. Today SpaceX is able to send a spacecraft with just over 10k people. Not to mention the massive drop in cost from 1 billion dollars to about 38 million $ today. The price point is also a critical parameter to be measured. Tesla is yet another example – a company which has been around for only 7 years is more valuable than GM. A single battery charge can make the car run for 280 miles. Innovation is certainly about fixing massive problems but at the same time there are numerous examples of small incremental changes being effected which have raised customer experience and expectation by leaps and bounds. As mentioned earlier – boundaries are getting pushed ceaselessly. He gave numerous other examples including those of Apple & Netflix. These are companies which not only disrupted the market but did not rest on their laurels. And, ever since they have continued to raise the bar and set new industry standards. Innovation, is far from a one-time exercise. Also, it’s not about “if” any more, it is an imperative and the question is “how”:
We are bringing you session summaries from NPC 2017 in a series of blogs. This one is based on the session of Atul Jalan, the CEO & MD of Manthan.
Atul Jalan held us in thrall (at NPC Banglaore) right from the time he strode up on stage confidently and started talking about the future, which seemed overwhelming at times.
He said, the kind of change that we have witnessed in the last 10 – 15 years is phenomenal. Moreover, what was experienced 50 – 75 years prior, pales in comparison. And finally, the change which will come about in the next 10 – 15 years will be nothing short of spectacular – something which may well be in the realms of our imagination now. The possibilities that Science can offer are being leveraged to the hilt and brings humans a step closer to playing God.
In process, technology has absorbed its own complexities to make life easier for us. AI, many opine, is the new electricity and cuts across nearly all industry verticals. And, this is happening at such a rapid pace that there seems to be a hubris around it! The truth is, we tend to overestimate its short-term benefits and underestimate its long-term transformative power. AI was first heard of in nerdy circles in the 50s of the last century. Its commercial applications didn’t pick up as was expected and had to go through a very long Siberian winter. And now it’s here, and how!
Data is the by-product of Social Media and the fodder for Deep Tech. Data captured through sensors is yet another prominent source. It’s leading to Cognification of Everything which is a most interesting mix of bio & info organisms. Smartphones today are more powerful than Supercomputers of an earlier era and with constant drop in prices, they are within bounds of most people. Advancement in Neuro-Science is witnessing a steady integration of bio and computer science. As AI comes of age, it makes us ask age-old and yet profound questions: Who am I? What is it to be human? What’s the construct of our mind? If the brain is akin to hardware then mind may best be compared to software. Till now, the questions about self were seen through the ‘limited’ lens of philosophy. As AI gets perfected, we are preparing ourselves to answer these questions through the lens of Math & Science. The next big leap, soon to come by, is going to be a very big one! Hopefully, we can put technology to good use and weed out pain, diseases to create a better society.
Homo Sapien 2.0 can attain three shapes: that of humanoids, or recreated through genetic engineering, or simply, cyborgs. It isn’t such a stretch after all if we are to imagine the future from today’s construct – humans perpetually glued on to their phones today, give the impression that we are part machine-like already. The emphasis here is our heavy dependence on machines to run lives for us. The life of the great physicist Stephen Hawkins embodies the combined impact of what neuro & computer science can achieve. Strapped to a wheel chair because of a debilitating disease (yet his mind remains the sharpest) he is able to move around with the aid of advanced technology which can read his mind and take commands directly. Life per se, is a matter of random selection. But, through genetic re-engineering can we create humans with only the desired characteristics – exactly the way we want them to be and eliminating chance factor. Is that desirable? Or is it re-imagining God?
Certainly, many jobs will be lost because of AI. Let’s not even pretend otherwise. On a lighter note: when horse-drawn carriages were replaced by automobiles, horses lost their jobs and never really got them back. In history, nobody has lost jobs like the horses did. Perhaps! But the caveat: the burden this time will be on man and not on the beast. Having said that, newer jobs will be created which will require application of better skills and humans will be more gainfully employed.
He also touched upon the sensitive area of sex and humans. Robots which talk and even listen attentively. Sometimes, more attentively than spouses! In fiction, we have already seen humans fall in love with non-human objects and there’s a possibility that someday this rarity may become more common. He jokingly remarked, “in future if I run away with your sex doll then would I be tried for running away with your wife or stealing your car?” It was a rather hilarious observation to make, as we all guffawed. New rules for the new man.
As we step into unexplored realms, a new code of ethics and morality will have to be written. Human progress is made on 2 distinct threads: the ability to invent stories and to tell them!
Arguably, man is the only animal which doesn’t yet know what NOT to do. It’s this constant itch which made man out of monkeys.