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India Doesn’t Need A Lot Of AI

Manpower-intensive countries such as India may not need artificial intelligence (AI) in the same way as other markets, according to top officials from software firm SAS, which has invested over a $1 billion in AI.

“The need in India for AI is not as strong because you do have so many people,” Jim Goodnight, CEO, SAS, told Businessline. However, he also said that AI can be used to augment specific areas like healthcare.

“In the medical field, if we can help predict what disease a person has or what treatment they ought to get, that is still beneficial to everybody,” Goodnight said.

“(In India) let’s find ways that we can move the workforce to higher value occupations — education, up-skill,” said Oliver Schabenberger, COO and CTO, SAS. “If you were to replace a job or an occupation through automation, you would not be able to do this till every component of the job can be automated. Most jobs don’t consist of all automatable components,” he added.

In healthcare, SAS is currently working with UMC, a medical college-cum-university in Amsterdam, on AI-augmented medical imaging to identify patients suffering from colorectal liver cancer. Using SAS AI-trained models, UMC physicians will be able to identify patients who respond well to chemotherapy and become candidates for surgery, according to SAS.

“A lot of the stuff in healthcare we are doing right now is around computer vision to help the doctors in Amsterdam — working with them to try to better understand whether or not chemotherapy is working or not,” Goodnight said.

Goodnight also said that companies want SAS to train people in India in specific skills so they may hire them. “One of the big banks wants us to make sure that more of our courses are being taught in Kolkata because that is one of their hiring areas and they would like to make sure that some of the students there are more familiar with SAS,” he elaborated.

SAS is also getting traction in working with retail companies. “We are seeing a real interest in retail. They are all up against Amazon and all the other online companies. We do a lot of demand-driven optimisation and forecasting to know when things are likely to be sold or not so they can re-order,” Goodnight said.

“One of the big things we do for apparel stores is optimise size information,” he added. – Business Line

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