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Artificial intelligence and the future of industry

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06 October 2017

Vidhya Karthikeyan

Blogs by author: Vidhya Karthikeyan, Principal Research Scientist, BT

Hot off the heels of Codex’s Top 50 Innovators from the Industries of the Future, Vidhya Karthikeyan reflects on the event.

Opinions on the future of AI

At Codex’s Top 50 Innovators from the Industries of the Future event this year, I was very excited to give an invited talk on our research in network and service analytics. I was also intrigued to hear what my peers had to say.

It’s always fascinating to hear how people from around the world are exploiting artificial intelligence (AI) and Big Data technologies in their own fields. And the event didn’t disappoint — with a number of presentations showing that AI has a clear role in the industries of the future.

Key ideas from the event

My research is about using AI and big data to enable BT to architect future networks that deliver future services. I talked about the challenges service operators like BT face in delivering a huge variety of services (TV, voice, connected home, data centres) over an underlying broadband network. I presented some of our exciting research on using network and service performance data to predict network outages and improve the quality of the TV service we deliver over broadband. It was great to be able to showcase and discuss our research at a forum of top innovators from a diverse background.

Dr Mirko Kovac, Director of the Aerial Robotics Lab at Imperial College, London, addressed the potential roles for cooperative robots in our future smart cities. He described the design of drones that take water samples, automate fault repair, deliver emergency response in rural locations and contribute to cargo transport in big cities.

Dr Caroline Hargrove of McLaren Applied Technologies described McLaren’s approach to enabling rapid decision making and the role of real time adaptive learning systems in empowering decision makers.

Three things stood out to me from the discussions:

  1. Citizen data science is here to stay and it is important for expert data scientists to be involved in the development of tools that allow the right insights to be derived from the right data.
  2. Data curation plays a key role in the future of AI and big data. We need to take a scientific approach to understanding the vast volumes of data organisations like BT collect over time. We need to come to grips with how pieces of data evolve, age and relate to each other.
  3. There are also challenges around AI adoption, particularly in its explainability and the need to be able to justify decisions to organisations as well as customers.

Moving forward

It is vital for research data scientists like myself to take every available opportunity to disseminate our ideas and discuss challenges in a like-minded community. That’s how we collectively push the boundaries of future technology. In those terms, the event was a huge success. 

The discussions were highly relevant, not just to the industry as a whole, but also to us as a business, and our global customers. Speakers at the event raised questions we’re asking ourselves every day. Both we and our customers are transforming to become increasingly data-driven, and are looking to adopt AI technology to a point where it becomes business as usual.

Find out more about innovation in BT.