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AI, Machine and Deep Learning – More Boon than Bane for Now!!


With the world and Ness forging ahead in the Machine and Deep Learning space, I wanted to throw open this new age Pandora’s box with some interesting thoughts.

Recently I watched an Indian Sci-fi movie, Robot, in great awe. “Chitti” the robot (Rajinikanth), learns to love Aishwarya Rai, the human. Once denied the affection, the same robot turns into a menacing villain tormenting one and all, till it gets annihilated at the end. How “Chitti” the robot extracted the nuances of human emotion in a partially supervised and partially unsupervised manner is a “deep learning” miracle. This is not just the stuff of Bollywood or Hollywood – these miracles have already begun to happen!

Statistically, most of us interact with AI (Artificial Intelligence) almost every day. We trust the translations emitted by Google, Bing, and Facebook. It just goes to show that wherever there is infrastructure, there is AI. These systems do things that the savviest programmers can’t explain and could be indicative of Elon Musk’s worst fears of AI being more unpredictable and devastating than a nuclear world war.

This makes us wonder whether, having placed our faith in these algorithm-driven machines that we are still learning to understand more deeply, are losing autonomy, or risking the loss of qualities that are both emotional and cognitive. Would these new entities possess compassion, empathy and altruism? No one has an answer. Could we program morals into the equation when the machine is self-learning? Still unclear!

Some researchers believe that AI could not live in a human body. Hence it would lack a physical amygdala, our fear center. Will an AI that lacks fear lack any desire for conquest as a result, and therefore be free to pursue a path of pure truth? A true learning AI will gather intelligence from its experiences that are vastly different from ours.

Another interesting angle that AI researchers highlight is our misconception that intelligence is all about the human brain – it starts and stops within the head. Recent research has suggested that the brain is more like a receiver, wired up by the experiences we have in the world around us. Our sensory systems play a vital role in shaping our intelligence. Taste, touch, sight, smell and sound create patterns, paths and robust highways within the brain. The intelligence may reside in the senses and the experiences may reside in the brain. Not just the sensory systems, our heart and gut also play a pivotal role in shaping our intelligence.

Coming to our earlier question – why should we assume that a machine would learn in the same way as our brain, without the five senses, heart and the gut. It seems highly unlikely. AI is more likely to inhabit our devices, networks and cables than to become a narcissistic demon that hates us.

Moving Ahead in the AI World

For now, AI is just a self-modifying algorithm, whereas we humans are complex, much more awakened than the machines, and our authentic self is a limited edition. With abundant free will and no fear, AI can teach us to break illusions that haunt the human mind and liberate us to face the road ahead.

As an AI savvy enterprise, Ness is currently building a critical mass of trained people who understand the nuances of Statistical Analysis/Machine Learning/Deep Learning to solve business problems and build Intelligent Platforms for our clients.

The AI Think Tank at Ness has already developed accelerators for retail and financial services industries. One such accelerator is a recommendation engine for online retail. With a product inventory that relies on taste, touch and feel, we have built a customer experience that would be immersive for exploration and targeted for relevance with factors such as colors, art styles etc. to help improve loyalty and increase conversion rate. Our labs have also built Robo Advisor, an ML framework, which provides real-time portfolio advice for asset managers in the financial industry.

For now, the advances from these machine systems are immense and we stand to benefit. In the years to come, machines will have their own place and we will have our space. Co-existence will be the key to the future.