I first learned about IIT Madras professor Balaraman Ravindran when my colleague wrote this profile story titled “Wizard of AI: Meet India’s foremost reinforcement learning expert.”
Since then, I’ve met him a few times. It’s fascinating how conversations with AI researchers go beyond technologies and tools shaping AI. It quickly becomes philosophical and even ideological while discussing the ills of machine learning systems making decisions impacting humans and society.
And this is where professor Balaraman starts making sense in the over-hyped and often “skin deep AI” ecosystem in India. AI is the new buzzword for policymakers, startups, VCs and individual job seekers.
So what questions to ask while trying to make sense of AI in our lives and work? Here are some pointers from my recent chat with him.
“The right answer to any question is, it depends. What you’re learning throughout your life is what it depends on,” he says. I know it’s a very philosophical answer. But knowledge is evolving.”
“India is the destination where most of the repetitive jobs are outsourced. And AI is mostly applied wherever there’s repetition.”
“It’s not like we aren’t going to need programmers. But we might need more app developers, those writing codes for the cloud and so on. “
There are problems to be solved within AI too.
“By and large, the biggest problem in AI is performance tuning. Many of my students are calling it “the performance tuning hell.”
Listen in to this podcast to make sense of AI in India.
Subscribe to FactorDaily
Our daily brief keeps thousands of readers ahead of the curve. More signals, less noise.
Thank you for reading FactorDaily
We hope this story worked for you.
Our journalism is produced by some of the best brains in the story-telling business who believe that good stories have only one master: you, the reader. Bringing these stories to you, just so you know, costs us a pretty dime even as the context of disruption remains unchanged in the journalism business the world over.
If you like what you read here, consider supporting the FactorDaily journey. We don’t have a paywall because we believe access to good journalism must be free to all, especially when it is in public interest and informs citizens with independence and accuracy. Such stories should not be restricted to a few who can pay. You are free to support us with any amount you like.
Please note that 18% of your contribution will be paid to government as GST, per Indian accounting rules.
Yes, I'd like to contribute.
Disclosure: FactorDaily is owned by SourceCode Media, which counts Accel Partners, Blume Ventures, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Jay Vijayan and Girish Mathrubootham among its investors. Accel Partners and Blume Ventures are venture capital firms with investments in several companies. Vijay Shekhar Sharma is the founder of Paytm. Jay Vijayan and Girish Mathrubootham are entrepreneurs and angel investors. None of FactorDaily’s investors has any influence on its reporting about India’s technology and startup ecosystem.