Digital technologies : AI, blockchain and cloud-based apps will be most transformative in ’19: IBM’s Natarajan

New Delhi: Subram Natarajan, chief technology officer of IBM India/South Asia, shares his thoughts on digital technologies like AI (artificial intelligence), blockchain and 5G, and their impact on companies. Edited excerpts:

On AI (machine learning, deep learning), blockchain, IoT, AR-VR, 3D printing, automation and robotics.

All emerging technologies will make an impact in 2019 but AI, blockchain and cloud- based applications will be the most transformative across all industries.

IBM defines AI as “augmented intelligence”, because its true value lies not in replicating human intelligence but complementing it. And in doing so, it will do more than redefine how the world works—it will expand what people are able to work on, opening up entirely new avenues of innovation, exploration, discovery and industry. AI will also create new markets and companies, while transforming existing enterprises and government institutions from top to bottom.

Blockchain is a transformative technology with the potential to change business transactions the same way the internet changed communication in the 1990s. Cloud will continue to play a significant role as a foundational technology that pivots business transformation of enterprises.

GDPR’s impact on companies in India

Organizations need to view it as a chance to streamline their data management approaches, by cutting down on the amount of personal data they keep, reducing the number of people who have access to personal data and disposing off data that is no longer needed. This “clean-up” process sets them up for longer-term efficiency and opens up an opportunity to create more personalized products and services—fostering deeper relationships with their customers and clients.

Do you see a visible shift to 5G in 2019?

From an end-user perspective, there may not be visible changes in 2019. There is plenty of work that needs to get done before the roll-out. Niche services that surround 5G need several ecosystem players to transform themselves to be ready for 5G services.

On Digital India

There has been remarkable strides with this programme. The reach of the internet to rural India as the arterial initiative has allowed delivery of various government services digitally. I am sure the impact of these digitally delivered citizen’s services were experienced by us across the areas of government functions, financial transactions, taxations, etc.

Do you think AI will impact jobs?

AI will help human beings to do their respective jobs much more efficiently. The goal of AI is to augment intelligence–not replace it. There are still significant limits to what cognitive technologies can do, especially in the area of decision-making. AI is a tool, and like all tools it just amplifies the work that people do.

Security challenges

The key learning that most mature organizations follow is to always be vigilant and take action on the updates that come from security experts. Creating and maintaining an incident response plan is key to a quick recovery from any security incident. It is becoming the norm for enterprises to provide adequate security training not only to employees but also to suppliers and others who work with the company.

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