Artificial Intelligence: The next step in human evolution

When it comes to the opportunities and possible perils of AI, there are a lot of different opinions out there. AI has garnered immense attention in the past few years, owing to the obscurity it brings with it. The world seems to be divided into two groups. One group embraces and supports AI whereas the other half vehemently opposes it. And we are considering only those who understand AI.

Headstart, keeping its tradition to demystify and present an unbiased view on the latest technologies that are making their way into Indian Startup ecosystem, organized the Startup Saturday event to bring together the best minds in AI space and start the dialogue on “Artificial Intelligence and its impact on Indian economy”.

AI and India
The first keynote by Shamik Sharma, Venture Partner, Pi ventures, revolved around how AI is to be perceived in Indian context. He urged his audiences to focus on the issues faced by developing countries which essentially translate to the issues arising due to lack of resources, talents and expertise. The growing frenzy about AI has resulted in businesses to look at data differently. Irrespective of size or the nature of business, the companies are investing heavily towards data generation, storage and management.
According to him, the startups can solve problems pertaining to India and can take advantage of
1) Availability of data : Huge amount of training data is available which can lead to more robust and accurate results
2) Increase in computation power : Advancement in hardware technologies has led to Companies achieving high computation power at a lower cost
3) Awareness and interest in new technologies such as deep learning and AI have pushed companies to look at more innovating ways to build the solution

The problems which AI can solve are broadly categorized below, with decreasing level of difficulty:
1. Creativity: Myntra is leveraging AI to design top selling apparels and cutting down the time it used to need to hit the market
2. Directive: Niramai focusing on building a sturdy, portable and low cost breast cancer detection software
3. Analysis : SigTuple is building intelligent screening solution to aid diagnosis using AI
4. Monitoring: Ten3T has developed a critical vital sign monitoring system helping patients receive the best care without stepping out of their homes.

He also predicted that the knowledge industries such as Healthcare, Education, Marketing, Legal will experience a major disruption whereas sectors such as Energy, Finance and Logistics can gain significantly if AI is used to increase the operational efficiency.
He ended his energetic talk by advising Startups to consider understanding and solving the problems and generating and collecting the data before shifting the focus to technology.

What to consider when implementing AI:
The panel discussion took off with some of the best visionary leaders in AI space, sharing their thoughts on various aspects to consider when implementing AI strategy.
Panel guests were:
Dr. Udayan Dasgupta, Co-Founder, Tricog Health
Anupam Choudhari, Head – Solutions, EdGE Networks Pvt. Ltd.
Raghavendra Ravinutala, Founder, Yellow Messenger
Sagar Sarma, Head of Products, Edgeverve

The session was moderated by:
Ujjwal Trivedi, part of National Core Team at Headstart, and VP- Products, Artoo.

Few key takeaways from the session were:
1. Devise ways to generate and collect data before implementing the AI strategy
2. Use conventional methods to solve the problem first. Once enough data is gathered, the real benefits of AI can be reaped.
3. AI or any other technology is just a means to the end, one should focus on solving a business problem and not get distracted by technology
4. Build a validation mechanism by
Studying the behavior of your customers
Gathering direct feedbacks
Employing multiple algorithms to solve the same problem and comparing the results.
5. Set a strategy to measure quality and result accuracy
6. ML based systems are always learning and are susceptible to throw quite a few surprises. Having a contingency plan in place in case of any untoward event is necessary.
7. Try to build a multidisciplinary team which thinks with an AI angle to solve problems

An investor’s perspective on AI:
The event ended with a candid chat with Mr. Suryaprakash Konanuru, CTO, Ideaspring Capital, which helps product innovation companies in B2B space. He graciously offered his perspective on what it takes for an AI based startup to be funding ready.
His advice resonated with our other expert guests, who reiterated that the technology should be treated as a means to an end. Startups should focus on the problem and the available data before zeroing in on the technology. According to him, the first step towards building your company would essentially be to understand the problem you intend to address, gather first set of customers and strive towards monetization. He also advised startups to focus on differentiating themselves, to stick to their story and to passionately work towards creating value.

This edition of Startup Saturday welcomed AI enthusiasts across sectors and it was gratifying to see our audiences walking out of the room delighted and enlightened.

Article by: Roma Roy Choudhury


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