Wipro: How businesses can truly harness the power of AI
As we race towards an uncertain future, one thing’s for sure: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here to stay. We cannot know exactly how it will reshape our work, our businesses, and our lives in general, but there are some fascinating and exciting potential outcomes.
We’ve already seen the first iteration of AI in the workplace and in our daily lives, as we hand-over repetitive tasks, or tasks that require us to wade through masses of data, to self-learning algorithms.
But perhaps the most interesting dynamic of all is the way that AI could change our sense of self. The automation of our basic administrative tasks will help us better express our most creative, spiritual and ambitious selves.
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Counter-intuitive though it may sound, advanced AI technology could well help us to better connect with those around us at a richly ‘human’ level.
Just what do I mean by this? Let’s explore a few ways that AI can augment our lives:
Supporting our gut-feel
For purely analytical tasks, AI can provide us with accuracy and context to inform our decision-making, while alerting us to any inherent biases in our thinking. This melds beautifully with that intangible concept of ‘gut feel’, to create the wisest, most strategic decisions.
Cognitive learning, a subset of the broader realm of AI, has tremendous application in helping to capture, package, and relay organisational knowledge from one individual to the next. Think of your very best employee… with the right cognitive learning solution you may be able to literally “bottle” their contribution to the company, codifying their knowledge, and help in sharing and quality learning
Enriching the people management function
We’ve all heard of the term ‘management by algorithm’. Algorithms can help to set and monitor some of the more tangible aspects of performance management, freeing up general management and HR staff to focus on the more human aspects of employees’ experience, and devote more time to deep conversations with staff.
Enhancing company valuation
Many decades ago, the value of a company lay largely in its fixed assets: property, plant, stores, branches, and other physical infrastructure. As we entered the knowledge economy we began ascribing increasing value to human capital and other intangible assets – like goodwill, and intellectual property. In the future, we’ll add yet another dimension to the value of our organisations: the state and sophistication of our AI capabilities. By investing in the likes of data science, machine learning, predictive analytics and cognitive learning solutions today, we could ratchet up our organisation’s value in the future.
Contributing more meaningfully to society
AI could become a powerful lever with which to effect meaningful, lasting social change. Governments and businesses share the responsibility to ensure that AI leads to greater equality and access to opportunity. For example, we can focus our AI efforts on healthcare in the developing world, to mitigate the effects of disease and poverty (rather than just using it to help us choose the next movie on Netflix, for example). Some AI commentators are already advocating for the concept of a ‘robot tax’ – levied on the value that AI brings to one’s organisation – the funds of which could be channelled into social initiatives.
We can’t predict the future. And we can’t know how to best prepare for the forthcoming AI revolution. What new jobs will AI create? How will we need to re-tool ourselves to take advantage of this incredible new technology? As we face up to these challenging questions, we must keep our minds open, get comfortable with an AI-driven future, and actively pursue ways to harness its potential.
By Ankur Prakash, Vice President, New Growth and Emerging Markets, Wipro Limited
ICO warns of privacy concerns on the use of LFR technology
“I am deeply concerned about the potential for live facial recognition (LFR) technology to be used inappropriately, excessively, or even recklessly. When sensitive personal data is collected on a mass scale without people’s knowledge, choice or control, the impacts could be significant,” said Elizabeth Denham, the UK’s Information Commissioner.
Denham explained that with any new technology, building public trust and confidence in the way people’s information is used is crucial so the benefits derived from the technology can be fully realised.
“It is not my role to endorse or ban a technology but, while this technology is developing and not widely deployed, we have an opportunity to ensure it does not expand without due regard for data protection,” Denham added.
The Information Commissioner’s Office has said it will work with organisations to ensure that the use of LFR is lawful, and that a fair balance is struck between their own purposes and the interests and rights of the public. They will also engage with Government, regulators and industry, as well as international colleagues to make sure data protection and innovation can continue to work hand in hand.
What is live facial recognition?
Facial recognition is the process by which a person can be identified or recognised from a digital facial image. Cameras are used to capture these images and FRT software measures and analyses facial features to produce a biometric template. This typically enables the user to identify, authenticate or verify, or categorise individuals.
Live facial recognition (LFR) is a type of FRT that allows this process to take place automatically and in real-time. LFR is typically deployed in a similar way to traditional CCTV in that it is directed towards everyone in a particular area rather than specific individuals. It can capture the biometric data of all individuals passing within range of the camera indiscriminately, as opposed to more targeted “one-to-one” data processing. This can involve the collection of biometric data on a mass scale and there is often a lack of awareness, choice or control for the individual in this process.
Why is biometric data particularly sensitive?
Biometrics are physical or behavioural human characteristics that can be used to digitally identify a person to grant access to systems, devices, or data. Biometric data extracted from a facial image can be used to uniquely identify an individual in a range of different contexts. It can also be used to estimate or infer other characteristics, such as their age, sex, gender, or ethnicity.
The security of the biometric authentication data is vitally important, even more than the security of passwords, since passwords can be easily changed if they are exposed. A fingerprint or retinal scan, however, is immutable.
The UK courts have concluded that “like fingerprints and DNA [a facial biometric template] is information of an “intrinsically private” character.” LFR can collect this data without any direct engagement with the individual. Given that LFR relies on the use of sensitive personal data, the public must have confidence that its use is lawful, fair, transparent, and meets the other standards set out in data protection legislation.