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Artificial Intelligence – is it the future?

Rekha Ramaswamy

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17-Aug-2017

During a chat with a senior executive of one of Europe’s largest auto majors, we talked about how our ongoing discussion on Docker is a part of and would help enable making driverless trucks a reality by 2020 using telematics. What was only a concept until sometime ago, is becoming a reality sooner that we thought. This piqued my interest to find out more about AI and this article aims to shed some light on it.

What is AI?

Wikipedia states that Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence exhibited by machines. In computer science, the field of AI research defines itself as the study of “intelligent agents”: any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of success at some goal.

AI encompasses three different streams:

  • Language processing that allows computers to communicate with humans
  • Machine learning where computers compare new information with existing data to find patterns, similarities and differences
  • Expert software systems that provide personalized advice.

Man has always been considered the Superior Being because of his ability to think and make decisions based on logic. With AI, the intent is to simulate this ability in machines thus paving the way of an industry wide application unaffected by scale or size.

We use AI in our day to day lives today. We talk and interact with Siri or Google on our phones, and AI is why Netflix knows what movies we like and what other products we would want to buy on Amazon!

Companies such as Google, Facebook, Uber, Apple and IBM have been researching on AI, with their key focus on areas such as question-answering, dynamic memory and predictive analytics.

The first machine age, the Industrial Revolution, saw the automation of physical work. We live in the second machine age, in which there is increasing augmentation and automation of manual and cognitive work.

This second machine age has seen the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), or “intelligence” that is not the result of human deliberation.

Here are some of the industries where AI has made considerable in-roads.

Insurance: The insurance industry has long been bogged down by outdated practices, regulatory challenges, economic downturns and cost challenges. AI can bring in a complete turnaround in this industry primarily by improving efficiencies and automating existing customer-facing, underwriting and claims processes. Over time, it can be extended to identify, assess, and underwrite emerging risks and identify new revenue sources. For example, with telematics technology an insurance company can now monitor a driver’s behaviour and driving habits in real-time and collate statistics to continuously assess the risk profile of the driver.

Healthcare: Artificial intelligence is breaking into the healthcare industry by assisting doctors. According to Bloomberg Technology, Microsoft has developed AI to help doctors find the right treatments for cancer. AI is also being used to monitor multiple high-risk patients by asking each patient numerous questions based on data acquired from live doctor to patient interactions.

Automotive: Advancements in AI have contributed to the growth of the automotive industry through the creation and evolution of self-driving vehicles. As of 2016, there are over 30 companies utilizing AI into the creation of driverless cars including Google, Tesla and Apple.

As per news reports, driverless buses could start plying the roads of Singapore as early as 2018, after the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) inked an agreement for the first autonomous bus trial.

Finance: AI is poised to revolutionize banking in a big way. Customer service is one area which is seeing a surge in the use of AI with the help of chat bots – A number of banks in SEA have implemented chat bots that answer general customer queries such as account balance, provide information on interest rates and also help with bill payments.  This is being extended to play the role of an advisor that asks customers questions in a natural conversational style and generates personally-tailored advice.

Getting started on AI

Most organizations have already woken up to the potential of big data and so already have a big data & analytics/data science group. AI techniques can be incorporated within the same strategy group via the following:

(i) Identifying business decision and business parameters: Identify key decisions that affect business and the parameters that need improvement. For example – improving customer service to increase customer retention.

(ii) Think big, start small: While there is no doubt that the impact of AI could be huge, the first step to achieving this could be small. Companies can start with a pilot project by picking a use case involving manual intervention that can be potentially replaced by a bot. This would require them to build the necessary platform/environment which can evolve over time.

(iii) Scale up and change: Once the pilot project has proven itself, it can be scaled up and across with the right software/hardware architecture together with an organization wide change in decision making mind set.

To summarize, AI is the result of exponential growth in computing power, memory capacity, cloud computing, distributed and parallel processing, open-source solutions, and global connectivity of both people and machines. The massive amounts and the speed at which structured and unstructured (e.g., text, audio, video, sensor) data is being generated has made a necessity of speedily processing and generating meaningful, actionable insights from it.

We, at Ashnik are constantly trying to help our clients tackle real world problems with business effective solutions by means of enterprise open source technologies.

We can help you in your technology transformation journey, feel free to reach out to us here.

Rekha Ramaswamy, Business Development Executive at Ashnik


Rekha is Business Development Executive at Ashnik Singapore. Her responsibilities include lead management, new lead development, sales pipeline management – engagement to closure and prospect engagement in SEA. A driven and progressive sales professional, Rekhabrings in account management and market research experience to the table. She has diverse set of experience of over 4 years in Technology,Insurance, Professional Services and now Enterprise Sales. She has helped on-board clientele from the Consumer Goods, Health Care, Consultancies and Power industries. She has worked in multiple geographies including India, Singapore and the US.


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