Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics are the buzzwords in the industry today. Already driving markets, they will have a bigger presence across businesses in times to come. To prepare management professionals for the upcoming industry challenges FORE School of Management, New Delhi organized a Conclave with the theme “The Confluence of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics” on 19 January 2018. Attended by prominent industry names and academicians, the Conclave offered useful insights to all participants.

The Conclave was inaugurated in the presence of Mr. Vijay Sethi (Chief Information Officer and Head, Corporate Social Responsibility, Hero MotoCorp Ltd) and Mr. Deepak Wadhawan (Chief Executive, The Institute of Internal Auditors). Dr. Jitendra K. Das (Director), Dr. B.B.L. Madhukar (Treasurer and Vice President, Finance), and Professor Shilpi Jain (Information Technology) represented FORE School of Management, New Delhi.

Dr. Das set the ball rolling by talking about the background for the Conclave: “Dr. Madhukar inspired the conference of AI in one of our informal discussions.” Dr. Madhukar made his point through the example of the banking sector, while Mr. Sethi urged the audience to look at both the pros and cons of AI. In the Special Address, Mr. Wadhawan shared several real life anecdotes to make the topic more relatable to the participants. He said, “What do we auditors do? We observe organizations, we observe industry and trends. I see you as business managers and, at this point, it’s important that you develop an opinion on AI.”

The panel for the next session on “Demystifying Artificial Intelligence – How AI is Changing Business?” included Mr. Binay Rath (Director, APAC Alliances and Channels, Oracle Health Sciences Global Business Unit), Dr. Sumeet Kad (Portfolio Marketing Manager, IBM Healthcare and Life Sciences), and Mr. Nishith Pathak (Vice President, Accenture Labs India).

Mr. Rath explained how AI works, offered a brief overview of all the terminologies used in the field, and recounted the benefits. But he also warned, “We have to be careful to not oversell Artificial Intelligence.” Dr. Kad shed light on the use of AI in his field: “Healthcare in India is in a sorry state. There is rising disease burden. Less than 10% people have health insurance. We have less than 1 bed for 1000 people, whereas requirement is of 5 for 1000 people. This dearth of resources has to be bridged by technology. AI is here to supplement and augment, not to replace us. Not in the next 50–100 years.” With the co-panellists Mr. Pathak then fielded questions from the audience keen on learning more about AI and its impact in future. He observed, “AI is not going to replace jobs, but it is going to replace tasks.”

The second half of the Conclave picked up more pace with a session on “Cognitive Analytics – Transforming Economies and Businesses”. Professor Ashok Harnal (Big Data Analytics, FORE School of Management) and Mr. Sumit Bhalla (Data Scientist, IBM India) engaged in a discussion moderated by Professor Shlipi Jain. Professor Harnal talked on “Deep Learning and its Gaps”. Sharing that deep learning provides impetus to AI, he also pointed out the gaps including a large amount of data and time consuming training. Offering the example of IBM Watson and how it reaches conclusive power, Mr. Bhalla explained the difference between supervised and unsupervised learning.

The final session on “Big Data Analytics – What does the future hold?’ had Mr. Dhruv Singhal (Head, Solution Architecture, Amazon India), Mr. Shashikant Brahmankar (Director, HCL Technologies), and Mr. Anupam Saronwala (Former Program Director, IBM Research Business Development) on the panel.

Introducing the topic to the audience, Mr. Saronwala talked about the role of mobile and social media in generating massive data for insights. Mr. Singhal took the discussion further and reminded that there was no Big Data in the past because there was no place to store it. Using Amazon Internet Services as an example, he explained four steps in the process: collecting, orchestrating, storing, and analyzing data. Mr. Brahmankar shared policy perspectives on Big Data. He explained the much talked about the Internet of Things with the example of Smart Cities, before concluding that we are now moving from Artificial Intelligence to Information Automation.

The range of ideas presented, issues discussed, and insights shared made the Conclave a fitting platform for anybody keen on learning more about the impact of AI and Big Data Analytics on business and industry in the future.

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