AI To Impact

PODCAST: COVID 19 | Redefining Digital Enterprises

Episode 12: How AI is rapidly transforming the enterprise landscape in
the post-COVID world

Listening time: 14 minutes

How AI is rapidly transforming the enterprise landscape in the post-COVID world

Dispelling unwanted fears like the future of work will be taken over by AI, Ria Persad, a leading climate scientist and industry thought leader points out that there can’t be a world that is perpetually run by AI forever, but there will be need for personnel with special skills to run those systems. So those skillsets need to be focussed on. Persad says Automated Planning, Prediction Making and Using Reason to Accomplish tasks—these AI-based processes will radically transform in the way we live and work, especially in the post-pandemic world.

Anushruti: Hi, everyone. Thank you for tuning in. I’m Anushruti Singh. And I’m a part of the CEO’s program office at BRIDGEi2i. Today, I will be the host for our podcast, AI to impact, which covers everything about digital and AI, featuring some remarkable thought leadership, expert point of views and commentaries from a gamut of industry leaders.

This is a definitive guide for making AI real. It is my immense pleasure to introduce you all to our guest today Ria Persad, she’s named as international woman of the year by Renewable Energy World in power engineering in 2013 and the lifetime achievement leader by Platts Global Energy awards in 2014. She mentors technology companies and as a climate scientist, coordinating research teams globally. She’s a mathematician, a classical musician and the author of the book ‘All things are possible: Unleashing the superhuman within.’ She’s the founder and CEO of StatWeather, a company, which was recognized as number one in climate technology globally in the year, 2017, by the Energy Risk Awards. Not just that. She’s the president of European Chamber of Digital Commerce, where she enables companies to develop successful digital strategies in order to shape the digital future. Her versatile self, in-depth knowledge and a born leader attitude has influenced masses and I cannot express how elated we are to have gotten an opportunity to talk to her today.

Hi Ria. Welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for joining us.

Ria: Thank you so much for the privilege of being on this podcast. I really appreciate this opportunity to share with your audience.

Anushruti: Wonderful. It’s likewise, to hear from you. The first question I had Ria is what role does AI play in the time of crisis or any other global economic interruptions?

Ria: Artificial Intelligence, I think is coming in to a greater and greater role in the world, not just in terms of its natural progression or its natural power to transform our technological landscape, but in light also of these global pandemics and these kinds of a Black Swan events that we’re seeing in the world arise. So, it really has the power to even transform our economic future. The reason for that I believe are twofold. One is that we’re venturing into an era of remote work and we see that a lot. We see the gig economy; we see people freelancing. We also see that companies and organizations are becoming more global. Eyes of the globalization are also seeing that teams are telecommuting. So that’s one thing that we’re seeing the shift over to remote work. The second thing is that we’re seeing a real transition in our companies and organizations to a complete digital transformation and I call it universal digital transformation. So, between the shift form our work paradigms, going from office to remote work environments and our systems becoming increasingly more and more digitalized.

Those two things, then give us an ideal environment for artificial intelligence to really come to the forefront.

Anushruti: Absolutely. And the question which next comes to everyone’s mind is, is the future of work disrupted by AI? And how will these roles and work evolve given that AI is going to be embedded in every scenario in the coming time?

Ria: Well, I would say that the vision of AI is not to take away human jobs, but to reshape and to transform the employment sector, because it leverages a different set of skills in this type of global pandemic economy and this global pandemic world. So, I’d like to give you an example of how it’s going to be reshaping our employment sector, not by taking away jobs, but by shifting the needs. And so, in any time artificial intelligence system, it’s not just, you know, you build this computer system and let it run. And then, you know, people are no longer needed. The whole world is just run by computers. It really doesn’t work that way. The way an AI system will operate in terms of engaging our employment sector is first of all, we need people who can build the models, who would be the mathematicians, computer scientists, engineers. We need people who can test. And monitor those models, software engineers, data analysts, system administrators, and then there’s that whole process of troubleshooting and debugging, which is huge because the system is not going to run perfectly. So that implies computer software testers, your beta users.

Then there are backup systems. What happens if a disaster strikes? What happens if there are power outages due to weather systems? Then, if the computer system goes down, then what do we do? So, then we need systems, analysts, database administrators, people who can set in place, these types of backup systems for risk management.

Then there are people who take in the customer requirements, business analysts, consultants, project managers, to create those kinds of bespoke solutions for the customer and to deliver the proper set of results to the customers. Then there’s the entire process of documentation and training, which would be technical writers, analysts, trainers, communicators, to train people within an organization, how to use the system, even change over the system.

So basically, what I’m saying is that, you know, the takeaway is that. Academia, businesses, non-profits and governments—they all need to recognize that the skills that are needed today in order to, to meet the needs of tomorrow are new well-paying jobs from a technically skilled workforce that will replace the manual or the tedious jobs.

So, it’s not so much that all these jobs are being taken away, but what we need to develop and to get the alignment between the people who are training people for the jobs and the people who need them. That is what people have to understand, we need a new set of skills and these skills are certainly emerging, but this is what we have to focus on more and more in our workforce.

Anushruti: Perfect. Thank you for summarizing Ria, that really helped. And I also like how you’ve actually profiled a few upcoming roles that will be more and more visible in the coming years. And given the impact that individuals will see in their careers and how the job is transforming, not to talk about organizations and enterprises, how is this disruption transforming enterprises, industries and countries that scale, or what is your view?

Ria: That’s a great question on the human roles. This rise in AI is indeed going to be transforming academia, businesses, non-profits, and governments who all need to align together in their recognition of the skills that will be needed today—To meet the needs of tomorrow. So, what we see that’s taking place in a more general setting is digital transformation.

And that means that companies and governments are using the digital technologies to create or modify their business processes. So, this can include mobile apps, blockchain, even machine learning and entire automation of systems. So, what we’re going to see is that systems are going to become more cost effective through the digital transformation.

More efficient, more scalable systems are going to be able to handle more data. Because this is going to be a real issue as all of these terabytes and terabytes and terabytes of data are going to be coming online to be able to process data faster and have the greater and greater capabilities. I’m also seeing more of a centralization of data through the cloud technology.

And so digital transformation is really going to completely change our landscape in terms of how we do business and more and more, this is becoming a prevalent, across the board movement, throughout companies and governments.

Anushruti: Absolutely Ria. We’ve been hearing about it all around and I think all of the companies and organizations have already taken steps to start this journey at some point or the other. And make way to the future. So, one of the things that we would reallywant to ask you is, are there specific examples or anecdotes of enterprises, industry transformation through AI that you have seen, that you would like to share with all of our listeners?

Ria: Yes. You know, what constitutes AI is sometimes up for debate. And some people call it cognitive technologies, but whatever we want to call it, I have three major categorizations of artificial intelligence with some examples to help. The listeners recognize what is AI or what constitutes AI? So, one of these three major subsections would be something called automated planning.

Automated planning makes complex decisions. For example, when you have unmanned space flight or robotics or military operations; here you have the machine without a human assistance, actually making complex decisions. Then the second category would be machine learning where we’re using experiential data or the past data to make future predictions. And the current data would be coming in in a very dynamic way that would help us to continuously adjust that. Prediction making schema so that we can predict things like stocks or human behaviour. That’s a big one for Google. When you go into your search engine and you search things, Google tracks, all of that. So that way it can make future predictions on what types of products you might buy or purchase so that it can place the right ads in front of you. In my company StatWeather we use this kind of data and data mining to forecast weather and climate patterns, which has been very successful. A third category of artificial intelligence would be knowledge, reasoning, and that’s processing information in order to “reason to accomplish a task”. So, like understanding human speech in the category of natural language processing. How about playing chess and reasoning through the move? Or how about self-driving cars and even drone technology, we’ll use knowledge rethink. So, these are some of the major, categorizations of artificial intelligence.

Anushruti: Very exciting times. And I hope this takes us to a better place. Now. Ria, thank you so much for taking out the time. It was a very interesting conversation and our pleasure to have
you here on a podcast.

Ria: Thank you very much. It was really my pleasure to address this and I thank you for the opportunity to share on how AI is going to change our world, not just our technological landscape, but our entire global economy, I think for the better.

Anushruti: Absolutely. Yeah. Thank you. Thanks again, everyone. It was an interesting conversation with Ria Persad, founder and CEO of StatWeather. As Ria mentioned, AI is coming into a greater way in the world and especially in these kinds of pandemic situations, AI has the power to transform our economic future. Also, as systems are becoming more digitized, it provides an ideal environment for AI to come to the forefront. Thank you again for tuning in, do subscribe. As we will continue the conversations with business experts and thought leaders in our upcoming episodes, they will be discussing the business impact of COVID-19 on various industries and how does the journey look for them in the future.

Once again, thank you so much for tuning in bye-bye. Stay home and stay safe.

2020 will long be remembered for the pandemic that wreaked havoc on the global economy and disrupted communities and businesses in unprecedented ways. In our latest podcast series: COVID19 | Redefining Digital Enterprises, we will be interacting with several thought leaders, BRIDGEi2i Business Heads, Domain Experts, and reputed AI and analytics leaders to understand the various challenges emerging out of this crisis and the way forward for enterprises in the new world order. Tune in to know more!

Meet the Speaker

Ria Persad

Ria Persad, Founder & CEO StatWeather.

Ria Persad, is founder and CEO of StatWeather, a company which was recognized as number one in climate technology globally in the year 2017, by the Energy Risk Awards. She was named as International Woman of the Year by Renewable Energy World in power engineering in 2013 and the lifetime achievement leader by Platts Global Energy awards in 2014. She mentors technology companies, and as a climate scientist, coordinates research teams globally. She’s also a mathematician, a classical musician and the author of the book ‘All things are possible: Unleashing the superhuman within.’ She holds the chair of president of European Chamber of Digital Commerce, where she enables companies to develop successful digital strategies in order to shape the digital future.