While common perception of Artificial Intelligence often tends be a fear of the uncertain, it’s in reality a daily companion in our daily life – so loved and familiar, that we don’t even talk about it anymore. The majority of AI applications are low-risk and are developed in fairness and ethics.
An index created by Oxford Insights and commissioned by Canada’s International Development Research Centre stated that India stands at number 17 out of 194 countries1 in terms of AI readiness. Interestingly, it is ranked higher than China and Israel and beats countries with the highest internet penetration rate- South Korea and even Estonia. NITI Aayog, a policy think tank of the Government of India has already started investing heavily in the research and development of the optimal use of AI.
When looking on the broad variety of media articles about Artificial Intelligence (AI) – and I don’t mean those published by researchers being excited about the potentials of their discipline – you can feel the same discomfort as ever regarding what if the machines take control and potentially even the jobs. Interestingly, as humans we always tend to talk about the uncertain, the frightening and the vague future than about the comforts we enjoy every day. Let’s be honest: How often do we discuss at all about all the little comforts we consider as normal? Things like:
- We use audio streaming when commuting to work and video streaming of cool series in the evening. But what if the song or the favorite show is over? We look on the recommendations that fit our preferences.
- We have this dear colleague from Japan who sends a report over – in Japanese. Well, automated translation of this text doesn’t take longer than a few seconds
- We love online shopping, but would we love every parcel being delivered separately, knowing there must be a good number of goods to be shipped to my area as well? No, we prefer fast and at the same time environment-friendly logistics
- Staying with e-commerce: There are millions of different products available from thousands of different shops. We don’t want to get informed about all of them, but only those that are relevant to us
We should discuss about examples like these more often, as all of them have one important aspect in common: They are about Artificial Intelligence, and not at all about robots. And they are not about the future, but what we are already used to.
AI is not only the future, but most notably the present of successful businesses
The truth is: AI has already reinvented how businesses operate and compete today while creating tangible and positive outcomes for consumers. A huge number of companies increasingly rely on AI-driven technologies to enhance decision making with data-driven analytics, deliver tailored products and services for their customers, and support customer service.
While not all AI applications are directly customer-facing but can see a huge impact by them on many industries. AI can also mean Augmented Intelligence and thus refer to a technology that simply assists human decision making by analyzing huge amounts of data. Large-scale medical diagnostics for early detection of diseases like retinopathies caused by diabetes is an example to be mentioned here. In addition, AI can also be about Intelligent Automation, which is basically the automation of standard processes in a company that free up employees’ time for more meaningful work.
Standards for AI to become India’s growth engine
AI is a huge aggregator for India as a whole and the country is heading towards massive adoption of the technology. The Indian Enterprise Market for AI is quite futuristic and is estimated to be growing at 200-250% CAGR2.
AI is increasingly being used by software vendors and AI solution providers as embedded products and services to deliver more value across a host of business problems. In this sense, AI technologies have enabled Criteo to create new qualified jobs; in our AI Lab overall. Furthermore, AI-driven companies don’t only create jobs in AI, but also contribute to the growth of the business of their clients, which again is the main condition for new job creation.
To sum up, India as a country has its foresighted vision and is embracing new ideas and technologies very efficiently. If we travel back a little, India never waited for landlines to fully penetrate the country and switched to mobile networks. Similarly, India currently has 538 AI companies 3 including several that are already making a name in their respective fields.
Authored by Kenneth Pao, Executive Managing Director of Criteo APAC.