Rohit Adlakha, AI and Board Leader

Rohit Adlakha has over 15 years of leadership experience in maximizing transformational success, ensuring profitability and achieving operational performance. Currently a member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Artificial Intelligence, he also serves as a trusted advisor to board executives, management teams, partner networks and regulatory authorities. In this two-part interview series, he takes us through the digitalization of the economy, the impact of AI on enterprises and governments and the evolution of future job roles.

1) What are your thoughts on the digitalization of the economy and society with a sharp focus on AI?

The impact of AI on Economy

We find ourselves in Industry 4.0, wherein the physical, virtual, and biological worlds are converging. This convergence has resulted in a technological disruption that I refer to as a blitzkrieg. It’s worth noting that the disruptions we witness as consumers in the business-to-consumer (B2C) market are also making their way into the corporate world. For instance, WhatsApp, which we use for both personal and professional communication, has become ubiquitous. As a result, a staggering 44 million WhatsApp messages are sent every minute worldwide, leading to a massive amount of data generation. Google, likewise, has become the de facto search engine, with around 5.7 million searches performed per minute.

Similarly, if we look at LinkedIn 3 users are added every second. There’s an absolute deluge of data through what we call the app-centric model. We as users unconsciously contribute over 100MB of data every minute through internet usage. While managing this vast amount of data poses a significant challenge, it also presents an opportunity to monetize it for the betterment of society. Globally, in a population of 8 billion, internet users comprise 5.5 billion alone. So, there is a massive exchange of data happening. 

Did you know that companies are building ecosystems that are even bigger than few countries’ economies? Take Apple, for example. Besides their popular gadgets like Mac and iPhones, they’re also into Finance through Apple Pay, home automation through Siri, and entertainment through Apple Music. Can you believe their market cap is a whopping 2.3 trillion dollars? It just goes to show how companies’ ecosystems and impact are growing and getting bigger than entire countries. As a result, massive technological upswings and disruptions led by these industry giants are having a significant impact on our society as a whole.

2) What is the impact of AI on enterprises and governments?

Thanks to the improved internet speeds provided by 5G technology, industries like healthcare, telecommunications, and retail are experiencing increased productivity and operational efficiency. In these industries, businesses can take advantage of recommendation engines and the Internet of Behaviors (IoB) to develop customer profiles using data collected from the engines. Let me explain how this works. Let’s say you use a travel agency’s services and tag your friends during the trip. With advanced recommendation engines, your friends will be shown ads from the travel agency based on the data collected, helping the business reach a wider audience.

Another major disruption we’re currently witnessing is human augmentation. Companies are digitizing the human brain and attempting to mimic its knowledge assimilation and decision-making capabilities. It’s a fascinating and rapidly evolving field that’s pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.

AI is the driving force behind almost every disruption we’re seeing in the market today. It’s incredible to think that by next year, investments and research in AI development are expected to reach 500 billion dollars! And, in terms of contributions to the global economy, AI is predicted to contribute a staggering 15.7 trillion dollars by the end of this decade. No matter the industry, whether it’s warehousing, healthcare, or defense, you can find AI-based robots playing an increasingly important role. It’s clear that from both a technological and use-case perspective, AI is becoming fundamental to every industry’s growth.

3) The advent of automation has led to the evolution of job roles. However, what other job roles have been created by AI that requires human skills?

In India, there is a growing need for digital skills. Last year in India alone, there were 2 million digital job vacancies that went unfilled, and by 2026, it’s estimated that there will be a requirement for 30 million digital jobs that will require AI skills. To address this issue, the government has sanctioned 1.1 lakh crore rupees to build a ‘Digital India’. We’re seeing the emergence of new careers that didn’t exist before, such as product designers who tell you “why to do”, data scientists who tell you “what to do” and data engineers who tell you “how to do”. 

Artificial intelligence has led to the collaboration of designers, scientists, and engineers who are no longer working in silos. Even in the humanities field, new career streams are emerging, such as AI ethics where sociologists can evaluate the impact of AI on society. Lawyers are also rewriting new human rights to protect copyright and privacy. In every department, employees are now focusing on becoming AI-hands-on leaders. It’s an exciting time to be a part of the digital workforce!

To be continued …..