In technology, there are many decades where nothing happens. And there are weeks when decades of work happens. Here’s an author and industry expert unpacking that adage – as seen tangibly in the last 2-3 years- everywhere!
Bringing out a book about digital transformation and jumping from legacy to the new age in 2019 could have been unremarkable or easy to forget. Just another book on technology, perhaps. But little did people know that this was a big premonition on how everything was about to change. The pandemic made it necessary for every company to be a tech company. Something the book’s author had strongly urged.
Sunil Rajguru, Editor, Dataquest met with this man with the sixth sense recently. In this very freewheeling chat, The Tech Whisperer author Jaspreet Bindra shared a generous peek into his exciting journey so far and the view that his binoculars see next. Excerpts picked during a special Dataquest 40 Years series where he covered how AI and digital wheels will churn a lot ahead:
Bindra has been a veteran in the industry with stints in Microsoft, Mahindra Group, etc., and has been marking a new footprint with his book and venture ‘Tech Whisperer’. And he minces no words when he says—everything has changed, and will change much more ahead.
“It took me 7 months to write a chapter on AI by an AI. Fast forward to today, it would take 7 minutes. In four years, the acceleration has been exponential. We are at the beginning of this tech acceleration.”
AI – Not new but re-incarnated
Digging deeper into Generative AI, Bindra said: “AI is an old technology. It has been present since the 1960s. AI is often called the new electricity. You only think of electricity when it’s not there. With Generative AI, the power of AI has been transported from the background into the hands of people. Many philosophers have said that the thing that separates humans from other species is ‘language’. AI and large-language models – now make both the likes of ChatGPT and humans capable of language.” However, he reckoned that “ChatGPT is miraculous and disruptive but only in certain industries and areas like marketing, creativity, content, etc. where it will have a profound impact. It will not change everything.”
Taking just one technology will not work. “It’s always a group that changes anything. AI is fundamental, like fire. Rare general-purpose technologies like AI or the Internet work across everything. But, the supply chain would need IoT with AI. BFSI would need Blockchain with AI. Additive manufacturing would need AI+ technologies,” he explained.
GenAI to JanAI
Bindra also threw some torchlight on jobs. “Tech will not replace humans. Someone ‘using technology’ will replace someone ‘not using the technology’. That has been the way of the world. We better embrace it.”
He also zoomed in on the India impact. Bindra argued that India 30 years from now would be exciting. “Will India be a superpower in the future- one needs a Nostradamus to tell that. But we would need a different model than what US and China have. India has managed to deliver technology to billions of people—the secret sauce of UPI, Aadhaar is that of digital goods. It has been done at scale. It has spurred start-ups. It has put subsidies and vaccines in the hands of the common man. Can we put generative AI also as a digital good? India LLM as part of India Stack would be great. Jan AI construct— that’s going to be something that can make us a superpower.”
Bindra is currently fascinated with the ethical connotations of disruptive technologies. He argues that Vedanta and other Indian roots hint at how Indians think of privacy differently than other countries. Models around privacy and ethics have to be contextualized for the billions of people here. JanAI, hence, will not only be just a delivery model but an ethics model—with requisite guardrails.”
When he decided to write that previous book, it was the storyteller in him trying to demystify technology. “I wanted to make it all understandable for a simple person.”
He still does. And is he all set for his next book, maybe about AI, ethics, digital transformation, and much more? One sure hopes soon enough!
(Catch the complete video interview on the CyberMedia Series YouTube channel)
Written by Pratima H