Facial Recognition: A Lightning Rod for Societal Concerns in San Francisco

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

  • San Francisco’s ban on the use of facial recognition technology by municipal agencies is noteworthy given the city’s high-tech affiliation and AI’s potential applications in public safety.
  • The safety-enhancing benefits of facial recognition are not resonating; instead, the technology has become a lightning rod for societal concerns related to privacy and inequality.

San Francisco is set to become the first major U.S. city to ban the use the facial recognition technology by municipal agencies. On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted in favor of the ‘Stop Secret Surveillance Ordinance,’ outlawing the use of the AI-based technology by city departments. The move is particularly noteworthy because it originates in a part of the U.S. otherwise known for embracing high tech and because it restricts the use of artificial intelligence for public safety, widely considered a top use case for facial recognition technology. However, San Francisco isn’t the only city evaluating restrictions on facial recognition; the issue is top of mind among lawmakers in many regions. Continue reading “Facial Recognition: A Lightning Rod for Societal Concerns in San Francisco”

AI and Ethics: The Waters are Murky, but Help is Available

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

• Many organizations need help navigating ethical issues related to artificial intelligence (AI), such as privacy laws, unintentional bias, and lack of model transparency, but don’t know where to begin.

• Enterprises can benefit from working with a partner that helps them consider the ethical implications of their AI deployments, but they should keep in mind that issues aren’t static and can evolve over time.

Organizations are eager to enjoy the benefits that AI can bring to them – whether enhanced productivity, or new revenue-generating or enhanced customer experience opportunities. But many are unclear about how to navigate the murky waters of AI and ethics. Changing regulations and privacy laws, concerns over unintentional bias in training data, lack of transparency in AI models, and the dearth of experience with new use cases are difficult challenges to address. Enterprises want to ensure that their adoption of the technology doesn’t cross ethical boundaries, but often don’t know where to begin. Thankfully, the topic is being increasingly addressed by IT services providers. Many organizations, from IBM to Capgemini to Atos are touting that they help their customers implement AI while also considering the ethical implications of their deployment.
Continue reading “AI and Ethics: The Waters are Murky, but Help is Available”

At NASSCOM 2019, Executives Shared Best Practices for Addressing New Opportunities

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

  • IT services players must change their ways to be more effective partners to their clients.
  • At the NASSCOM Technology & Leadership Forum (NTLF) 2019, held in Mumbai, India in late February, Indian and international industry leaders shared best practices for managing AI’s impact on staff, reskilling teams, developing deeper customer relationships, and cultivating a culture that embraces change.

It’s not only about finding the right technology, curating large amounts of data, or identifying the best use cases. Successful AI depends on changing business processes. We often focus on the change that needs to take place at the enterprise, but what about the changes that IT services providers need to make in order to better serve their customers? IT services players must also change their ways to be more effective partners to their clients. Continue reading “At NASSCOM 2019, Executives Shared Best Practices for Addressing New Opportunities”

Operationalizing AI for Broader Adoption

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

  • A shortage of skilled AI professionals is one of the biggest hurdles to broader AI adoption by enterprises.
  • Salesforce is embedding its solutions with Einstein-powered AI to make the technology more accessible to non-data scientists.

Businesses need artificial intelligence (AI) solutions that can be easily adopted and manipulated by line-of-business users. Although many organizations are eager to adopt AI, they are often held back by a lack of access to data scientists that can curate data and develop AI models that address their specific needs. This skills shortage is one of the top hurdles facing organizations when it comes to operationalizing AI. And it is precisely this challenge that Salesforce is looking to address by embedding its solutions with Einstein-powered AI. Continue reading “Operationalizing AI for Broader Adoption”

IBM Releases Images to Improve Facial Analytics Accuracy

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

• Concerns over the accuracy of facial analytics have prompted IBM to release a dataset of over one million facial images, including facial coding, that can be used to train facial analytics software.

• Improving the results of facial analytics will bolster public confidence in the technology, promoting adoption by enterprises.

IBM has released a dataset of over one million facial images to the global research community to combat bias in facial recognition software. The announcement comes after researchers from MIT and the University of Toronto made claims that a well-known competitor’s product misclassified women at a higher rate than men, with error rates for darker-skinned women far surpassing error rates for lighter-skinned women. With women accounting for roughly half of the world’s population, inaccuracies in their classification present a serious threat to facial recognition adoption. Continue reading “IBM Releases Images to Improve Facial Analytics Accuracy”

Need a Ride? Call a Self-Driving Taxi!

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

  • Ford announced plans for self-driving taxis and delivery services; it expects to launch its fleet in Washington, D.C. in 2021.
  • Ford is one of many companies around the globe that is developing commercial autonomous vehicles.

Soon, if you need a ride to the airport, to the pub, or just around town to run errands, you’ll have another decision to make. Do you hop in a cab? Request an Uber? Or, perhaps… you take a self-driving taxi. What just a few years ago seemed like futuristic technology right out of a sci-fi movie will be here before you know it. Continue reading “Need a Ride? Call a Self-Driving Taxi!”

Facial Recognition to Spark Lively Debate in 2019

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

• Companies specializing in facial recognition raised sizable amounts of capital from investors in 2018.

• In the coming year, facial recognition will yield new use cases, but will also bring new ethical concerns to the forefront.

Facial recognition is a hot topic. During 2018, several companies active in image recognition, and specifically facial recognition, raised sizable amounts of capital. China-based Sensetime raised an additional $1 billion in September of 2018, bringing the company’s total funding to $2.6 billion. After its Series D funding in July 2018, Megvii’s Face++ had raised a total of $607 million.

During 2019, investment in companies pursing visual recognition and developing new applications for the technology will likely accelerate. Given recent trends, there is a strong possibility that much of this new funding will be flowing into China, which has been very public about its aspirations to lead the global AI arena. Continue reading “Facial Recognition to Spark Lively Debate in 2019”

Digital Transformation Requires a More Local and Collaborative IT Services Partner

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

• 2019 will bring renewed efforts by IT services providers (ITSPs) to shore up their local presence, particularly international players that have traditionally serviced their client base via an off-shore or near-shore model.

• To remain competitive, ITSPs must change the nature of their client interactions, which will require deeper relationships to implement transformative solutions.

Most of the large, global IT services companies generate a substantial portion of their revenue from the U.S. market. In the past, U.S. clients were often served in large part by international teams based overseas or by teams brought in from other countries to support specific tasks or projects. However, the changing political climate in the U.S., and its potential to impact the issuance of H-1 visas, as well as the evolving nature of client engagements, has caused many organizations to reevaluate their localization strategies. As a result, several large players are growing their U.S.-based teams and hiring local employees. It’s a strategy that has extended beyond that U.S. and has been applied to other countries as well.
Continue reading “Digital Transformation Requires a More Local and Collaborative IT Services Partner”

CenturyLink Implements Ambitious Strategy to Compete with the World’s Largest Carriers

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

  • CenturyLink has ambitious plans to leverage its newly acquired assets and establish itself as a formidable player in the global arena.
  • Not only is the service provider targeting North American organizations with international connectivity requirements; it is also pursuing multinationals headquartered overseas, a move that sets it apart from some of its peers.

There is no shortage of service providers that have looked to broaden their footprints and establish themselves as global carriers. Some have been more successful than others, and several have come and gone. Many, such as AT&T, have chosen to follow their customers, providing connectivity to meet the international requirements of their largest customers. Few have been aggressive enough to go after organizations headquartered outside of their home territories. CenturyLink is positioning itself to join the latter group, and with cash to spend, the service provider can afford to make some sizeable investments. Continue reading “CenturyLink Implements Ambitious Strategy to Compete with the World’s Largest Carriers”

Service Provider Adoption of AI Poised to Pick Up Momentum

R. Bhattacharyya

Summary Bullets:

  • Artificial intelligence has the potential to profoundly impact the way companies conduct business, and telecom service providers are no exception.
  • Fifty-five percent (55%) of telecom service providers have already prioritized chatbots, machine learning, and deep learning; over the next two years, this number is expected to grow to 75%.

Few telcos are saying much about their artificial intelligence strategies, but enterprise customers have much to gain from working with a provider that incorporates the technology into its processes and solutions. Artificial intelligence has the potential to profoundly impact the way companies conduct business, particularly telecom service providers. From an internal perspective, it can be used to improve network management, operations, security, and customer support. Operators can use AI to add new features to existing products, or to bring entirely new solutions to market. All of this is good for customers, but the benefits don’t stop there. Service providers are well positioned to use their lessons learned with AI to help customers make the most of the new capabilities. Continue reading “Service Provider Adoption of AI Poised to Pick Up Momentum”