NDTV Tech Conclave 2018: Panel Discussions on AI and Social Media

By Sharada Prahladrao

Technology Trends

Technology’s tentacles have encroached every aspect of our lives. Sitting in the comfort of your home you can tune in to live discussions and gain new understanding about technologies that are reshaping our world view. NDTV Tech Conclave 2018 saw a congregation of leading minds in the technology, mobile, and digital industries. The conclave aimed to showcase and create opportunities by bringing together many of the top entrepreneurs, investors, enterprise leaders, academics, and policymakers from around the world. At this event, which I watched on TV, two sessions were of special interest to me:

  • New face of artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Are we at the beginning of the end of social media? 

NDTV Tech Conclave 2018: New Face of Artificial Intelligence

The moderator of this session outlined two diametrically opposite views of AI and threw it open to the panelists.

Scenario 1: A stereotypical day begins with reading the paper, having your coffee, checking your emails, filling up the washing machine, driving to work etc; and when you return home, you then prepare the dinner, remove the clothes from the washing machine, switch off the lights and so on.  As this scenario proceeds, AI simplifies everyday routines.  A robot wakes you up at the right time, prepares the perfect cup of coffee, and prepares your day’s itinerary.  You commute to work in a self-driving car, so the traffic is not your headache.  Once in the office, chatbots take care of your meetings and calls.  When you return home, the temperature setting is just right, dinner is ready, and your other chores are done.

Scenario 2: An evil AI entity is going to take over the entire world and kill all mankind within the next 15 years (a scenario also depicted in “The Terminator” movie series).  Commenting on this scenario, a panelist said that there is a probability that the general intelligence of AI can improve and become super intelligent and take a negative turn; but with checks and balances it can be kept in place. 

Both scenarios are possible. However, the reality may lie somewhere in between the two extremes.

The Discussion on these Two Scenarios

AI is a broad term for every kind of technology that mimics human behavior to some extent; machine learning refers to algorithms that can learn from data; deep learning, an extreme form of machine learning, can impact algorithms and create new ones. Computers run on rule-based systems and humans on pattern-based systems; and once AI steps into the grey area of pattern-based systems, it can impact decision-making processes.

But, at this stage, what we should worry about is how it will affect the job market, said a panelist.  AI will take over “grunt work,” such as validating kyc (know your customer) documentation and routine jobs. What is needed is strategic planning to reskill, retrain, and upgrade the workforce to understand and implement new technologies. 

As a tool, AI is a force multiplier – and any tool can be good or bad. AI by itself cannot be bad, only humans can misuse AI.

NDTV Tech Conclave 2018
Session on Artificial Intelligence: From left – Vikram Chandra, Moderator, NDTV; Manish Singhal, Founder, Pi Ventures; Prasanto K Roy, Vice President, Nasscom; Abhinav Kumar Gupta, Founder, Silversparro Technologies; and Samar Singh Jodha, Photographer and TED Speaker

Are we at the Beginning of the End of Social Media? 

After Facebook's massive data leak scandal, social media has been in the spotlight like never before. Does the data breach change the way social media will keep developing? Is social media as we know it at the brink of its existence? These were some of the questions raised and discussed. The Cambridge Analytica scandal helped bring this issue to the public’s attention and will drive companies to improve their privacy policies going forward.

We are addicted to social media, which – in some ways - is tearing apart the social fabric.  Ironically, social media both creates divisiveness and brings us together.    

The panelists said that the weaponization of data is what causes fear. Free social media will come to an end – companies need to conform to standards and regulations. People must use social media responsibly. Not just the rules of the game, the very game needs to be changed to prevent misuse and harm.  

NDTV Tech Conclave 2018
Session on Social Media: From left - Vikram Chandra, Moderator, NDTV; Divya Spandana, Head, Social Media, Indian National Congress; Gurmehar Kaur, Student Activist; Suhel Seth, Columnist and Management Guru; Vikas Pandey, Software Architect and Social Media Activist; Nikhil Pahwa, Digital Rights Activist and Founder, MediaNama; Rajiv Makhni, NDTV


Engage with ARC Advisory Group