Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are slowly seeping into various sectors and industries. As per the International Data Corporation (IDC), 60 percent of enterprises in India will combine human expertise with artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, and pattern recognition to augment foresight across the organisation by 2026. Today, sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, retail, banking and financial services, and public utilities are all leveraging these emerging technologies, with many more joining in.
Dipyaman Sanyal, Head, Academics and Learning at Hero Vired credits the pandemic to the increasing use of new-age technologies. He explains that the pandemic sped up a lot of things that were envisioned before, such as remote working, a collaborative style of working, etc. “And that’s being driven by technology,” he said.
Speaking at YourStory’s Future of Work Summit 2022, he explained that a lot of the change today is at a very core tech level versus AI/ML. But the next technology wave will be driven by AI/ML and that’s the future.
Scaling with AI/ML
Companies can change the entire structure of the business with AI/ML and data science, said Dipyaman. Sharing an example of optimising a business’s marketing funnel, he said that just by writing an algorithm, they can achieve success. “We could write an algorithm for a firm, where their sales calling success rates move from .34 percent to .68 percent. The number is low, but that’s double the success rate. You had to make no operational change. You just had an algorithm to rank who I should call first. There are tons of data in the background, it is just not being used well enough,” he noted.
For AI/ML to truly define the future, we also need to build robust infrastructure in smaller cities and villages, added Dipyaman. It is important to think about the Smart Cities discussion seriously. “If we want decentralised workforces in Tier II, III cities, we need infrastructure and some of that has already happened. I could get fast enough internet access in a village to work from there and work on big data,” he said.
Transformational learning needs hand-holding
Employees with AI/ML knowledge have become some of the most sought-after employees. As per reports, around 20 million jobs are to be added by 2025 around artificial intelligence. Dipyaman believes that we need to skill our engineers, adding that India has the largest pools of both employable as well as unemployable engineers graduating. “If we cannot work on the skilling front, it’s just going to be an absolute disaster but technology can help us there,” he added.
Hero Vired focuses on mentorship, hand-holding, and faculty instruction to counter automation and AI-driven learning. “If somebody is looking for transformational learning, they need a little bit of hand-holding, they need to see someone, they need to interact. And that’s one area where we are doing really well and fairly differently,” explained Dipyaman.
Hero Vired launched India’s only industry-focused, comprehensive, and full-time online program in Data Science, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in partnership with MIT. Speaking about it, Dipyaman revealed that it was a risk they took as many of their learners come from Tier II, III cities. “When I look at the learning outcomes, the amount of effort put in by our students and faculty is incredibly heartening. And I strongly believe it’s something that is going to scale up,” he added.
The road ahead
Dipyaman feels that with AI/ML, we have only scratched the surface. In terms of the future of work, there is a huge amount of disruption happening across sectors such as core HR – how they hire employees, how they engage them, how they think about attrition, etc.Technologies like cloud computing, according to Dipyaman, will also play a key role because it lets enterprises store data and access it at will. “We’ve seen examples of optimising your IVR – the voice recording that you get with options when you make a phone call. Why is it not optimised? If we have credit cards with the same bank, we should get different messages and not the same one. This is a simple hack. You see interventions like this coming in every step of the way,” he explained.
At Hero Vired, the aim has always been to create impact. And they saw that right from the first cohort of their learners. Students from smaller towns did fantastically well and got placed immediately, revealed Dipyaman. Integrating life skills into the programmes is key at Vired. “When we talk about transformational learning, holistic learning, or integrated programmes, it’s not just AI/ML, it’s about how do you write a resume? How do you create your LinkedIn profile? How do you give an interview? How do you present something? We are not just focusing on employment today, we are focusing on employability,” he explained.