Anees Merchant, Global Business Head – Digital and Applied AI at Course5i

“In the next five years, there would exist a Smart Country Index, similar to the Happiness Index,” Anees Merchant, Global Business Head – Digital & Applied AI at Course5i

In an exclusive interaction with SCIKEY, Mr. Anees Merchant talks about the emerging post-pandemic AI trends, the importance of automation and humans at work, and the industries that will make a strong comeback from the pandemic.


Anees, you have enabled businesses with innovative AI-led solutions and practices; tell us what could be the top 5 AI trends in the next year considering the pandemic?

AI, as technology has exponential power, if applied and adapted right, can have a massive impact.

The first key trend will be increasing augmenting employees’ capabilities with either AI-enabled insights and tools to enhance collaboration, execution, and decision making.

The second key trend would be a focus on Ethics in AI. The current pandemic has spotlighted societal and systematic issues, and as AI gets more prominence, Ethics would be a big focus point.

The third trend is that stakeholders (board members, customers, shareholders, and others) would hold organizations accountable for the successful deployment of AI and related technologies.

The fourth trend that AI would bring in would focus on skills such as Library Sciences. “We, as individuals, are leaving behind human skills to chase technology skills.” It is crucial to understand that technology will always keep evolving. However, human skills need to be passed on to future generations to combat unexpected times, such as our current pandemic.

The last trend is not for the next year, but a Smart Country Index like the Happiness Index in the next five years. This index will evaluate the way countries are being managed and run, using AI and other technologies.

 

AI and Automation have replaced a lot of human work people have either lost their jobs or become redundant. How do you see the job landscape two years down the line considering the pandemic’s added impact on businesses? Which jobs will be in demand, and which ones you think can become redundant or transform?

In AI, the main thing you need is data and combined with the domain. Data or science understanding is not enough to have a successful deployment of AI. If the data you have is unstructured, you need individuals with a domain to give it a structure. People involved in domain led fields will notice an evolution in their jobs in the future. I believe the number of jobs, too, will evolve and become available in the market.

Today, AI can modulate your voice, images, or backgrounds and enhance your content looks. Companies today use this technology and are a fairly new breed of companies that did not exist two years ago. Going ahead, automation sure would become a crucial aspect of many fields. But humans would be needed to regulate these automation activities. Like, Walmart is starting drone delivery that will impact truck drivers who are delivering their products. For this, Walmart will need drone operators that can efficiently operate drones because it cannot function on its own.


Anees, you are currently focusing on leveraging artificial intelligence to disrupt the space of digital and insights. What the top business functions that you’re prioritizing to leverage AI why. Does the current crisis have some role in prioritizing?

Our company is focused on driving Digital Transformation by leveraging Analytics and AI-enabled solutions, and products to organizations, Global and Fortune 500 companies. There are two ways of prioritizing for us- one is through client-led initiatives, and the other is our initiative. For us, prioritization is in two areas, First: application of AI in Marketing, Sales, Customer, Digital, Supply Chain Product. Second: Augmentation of human capabilities delivering insights in a more harmonized manner. The current crisis has enabled us to be at the forefront of deploying AI for many customers since Digital Transformation has become a key agenda for many companies.

 

Having worked with numerous global Fortune 500 clients across various industries, including Retail, Travel and Hospitality, Telecommunications and Technology, which sectors do you think likely to rebound fast to bring business at par to pre COVID times why?

 

Hospitality and travel can be combined seen as they both go hand in hand. Both these sectors would need AI and technology applications to make things safer, automated, and seamless for consumers. These industries were much ahead in the game in the pre-pandemic era as well.

 

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