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With more than 4,000 patents registered in 2018 in technologies like AI, cloud computing, security and quantum computing, IBM inventors from India received over 800 of patents, the second highest contributor to the global record tally. Leading the charge, it is Gargi Dasgupta who coordinates everything to bring innovation to the forefront.
In an interaction with Analytics India Magazine, Gargi Dasgupta – Director, IBM Research India and CTO, IBM India and South Asia shares the various facets of her research work, and the way forward.
Gargi’s Passion For AI
“After I completed my PhD I returned to India to pursue this passion and fulfil my ambition to contribute and drive this change and while doing so help establish India as a leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI),” told Gargi Dasgupta.
Gradually Gargi leveraged this expertise in creating leadership for IBM in AI-driven business processes and IT automation – embedding AI capabilities into IBM’s Automation platform, bringing together assets and capabilities from our worldwide research into business use and establishing right relationships with industry verticals and services partners to drive impact. She has helped IBM optimise its own product support business via AI infusion led to a significant impact measured in several tens of millions of dollars through innovations like enriched contextual search, question assistant for interactive customer problem determination, cognitive routing and many others.
“For any AI to be successful it has to reason and act; get better over time and interact with the natural interface. So, this pillar of AI is the most complex as it helps us push the boundaries of what we can achieve,” said Gargi.
For any AI to be successful it has to reason and act; get better over time and interact with the natural interface.Gargi Dasgupta, CTO- IBM Research India
What Does It Mean To Lead IBM Research?
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According to Gargi Dasgupta, her research agenda is anchored in three main areas: advancing the capabilities of core AI technologies in areas of language and reasoning, creating AI technologies that can be trusted, are explainable and fair and embedding and operationalising these AI capabilities into businesses. Applying these technologies, IBM are building platforms for Agriculture (Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture), Retail (Cognitive Retail Enterprise) , Smart Contracts and supply chains (with Blockchain) and driving Enterprise Automation.
“Our Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture – which uses the power of AI and weather data, is helping farmers make informed decisions about their crops. The platform provides tools and insights from sowing to crop health monitoring and harvesting to credit scoring of farmers. It has garnered a lot of interest by the Government, policymakers, corporates etc.,” told Gargi Dasgupta.
In India, under Gargi’s leadership, IBM Research all did a pilot project with NITI Aayog for their aspirational districts, collaborated with Karnataka Agri Price Commission for price forecasting of tomatoes and recently we signed a Statement of Intent with Ministry of Agriculture for using this platform in three districts in India.
Gargi Advises On Upskilling and Learning
In this constant world of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) people must be agile and find time to upskill. They should adopt a protean career approach and continuously be looking at the skills they need to acquire. Upskilling could be through courses, dedicated technology reading, business overviews etc. According to Gargi Dasgupta, the Education sector has a major role to prepare the workforce for the age of automation through its curricula and programs.
“I feel enterprises and Government share an equal responsibility to ensure that our workforce is skilled for tomorrow. We need a system that encourages skill-building, critical thinking, problem-solving, being agile. If India wants to become an AI force, we must build the right talent pipeline and the entire ecosystem needs to be invested in creating a platform that will help our agenda,” said Gargi Dasgupta.
If India wants to become an AI force, we must build the right talent pipeline and the entire ecosystem needs to be invested in creating a platform that will help our agenda.Gargi Dasgupta, CTO- IBM Research India
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Vishal Chawla is a senior tech journalist at Analytics India Magazine and writes about AI, data analytics, cybersecurity, cloud computing, and blockchain. Vishal also hosts AIM's video podcast called Simulated Reality- featuring tech leaders, AI experts, and innovative startups of India.