This roundtable recap was written by SWE FY20 Global Ambassador Preethi Karpoor.
In December, SWE organized a series of corporate roundtables titled ‘The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Future of Workplace.’ It was facilitated by Yeshasvini Ramaswamy, serial entrepreneur and founder of AI platform, MnA genome. Ms. Yeshasvini took the attendees in Delhi, Pune and Bengaluru through a riveting journey that was more an interaction than just a lecture. Quite admittedly, it was more of a revelation.
The primary intent of this roundtable was to explore the consequences of the most imperative topic that is shaping not just companies and industries, but also our daily lives – artificial intelligence, commonly abbreviated ‘AI.’ AI is the crux of our lives nowadays, but more than often, we overlook the denouements. The roundtable addressed the reasons and motivations of AI such as how it should be deployed so as to meet the market needs and how it adds a ‘conversational layer’ for business investments.
The session sifted through a multitude of brilliant ideas, anecdotes and opinions with ideas pouring in from both the speaker and the attendees, who were all from a myriad of backgrounds. While the tech investors were oriented towards how to use AI to create disruptive technologies and products that can help them cement their position in the global technology scene, the engineers were more interested in how they can embrace AI without letting it disrupt their jobs. There was one final segment of students (like me) who were worried whether AI would let them enter the workforce at all, let alone bring a revolution!
The attendees went through fun, thought-provoking activities that were immensely helpful in identifying how they can be the catalysts to the change they wish to see. There was a questionnaire session that Ms. Yeshasvini conducted that was crucial in answering our unspoken question: Are we biased towards AI or does it have the potential to introduce a bias of its own?
Indeed, this is the beauty of AI. The pace with which the world is making rapid strides, AI is a part and parcel of each and every one of our lives – whether we are related to it or not. AI is not just a technology, but the methodology of how to use and include technology. Although other disruptive technologies like Machine Learning and Deep Learning are slowly acquiescing their way in, AI remains the undisputed disruptor. The world is bracing for a quantum leap, so we must, too.
At the end of the session, we were left with more questions than answers. What? How? Why? When? Where? Most importantly, what next? But one thing was crystal clear, the answer to everything is ‘Reskill & Upskill.’ Dave Waters, a pioneer of AI said, “Predicting the future isn’t magic—it is Artificial Intelligence.” You may be a tech mogul, a trailblazer, a novice or even a clueless person. This is the way ahead. This is the future.
P.S. – Now that I hear Volvo has cars that recruit their own engineers, do we still need to sit back and ponder on how AI can actually affect a workplace?!