The great debate on limiting AI usage

Artificial Intelligence now pervades almost all walks of human life. In many areas, what was once thought to be fictional is today commonplace. Companies and governments are routinely deploying AI.

Widespread usage of AI, which is essentially machine intelligence replacing or aiding human intelligence, will naturally create new risks. It is no surprise that there has been a lot of debate about regulating its use in several activities, including the use of AI in law enforcement, which is perceived as a risk to privacy and fundamental rights.

The European Union (EU) proposes to prohibit use of Facial recognition technologies by law enforcement for the purpose of surveillance. Live face detection will be banned in public space, unless the “situations involve the search for potential victims of crime, including missing children; certain threats to the life or physical safety of natural persons or of a terrorist attack.”

Other applications that may manipulate people into causing self-harm or harm to others will be completely banned. A few months ago there was a news report that a chatbot built on GPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3, a language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text) had advised one fake patient to kill himself when he reported he had suicidal tendencies.

Huge fines will become applicable for anyone dabbling with even AI-generated videos that look remarkably real, unless they are clearly labelled as computer-generated.

EU has become the first body to outline draft rules on regulating AI. Before long many others will follow suit. In India there are no laws currently in vogue relating to AI or ML as the Government’s intent right now is in promotion of AI and its applications. But, even as existing policy encourages rapid development of AI for economic growth and social good, the limitations and risks of data-driven decisions and the societal and ethical concerns in AI deployment will surely be considered by policy makers.

The Human Element

The ultimate aim of AI research, as in any technology advance, is to improve lives. However, fortunately or unfortunately, AI will never be a substitute for human philosophy and intellectuality. Machines are unlikely to ever gain an understanding of humanity, and our innate emotions and motives. The human touch will always be missing – empathy, love or any other emotion. Instilling AI with human–compatible values will be a major challenge.

It is widely expected that, within a decade, automation will replace a variety of current jobs. We may also assume that this new industrial revolution will engender a new workforce that is able to navigate and take control of this data-dominated world. Nevertheless, socio-economic disruptions are bound to erupt.

Steve Shwartz, author of the book “Evil Robots, Killer Computers, and Other Myths: The Truth about AI and the Future of Humanity” says that the notion of AI taking jobs is a myth. “Today’s AI systems are only capable of learning functions “that relate a set of inputs to a set of outputs,” he says. “Rather than replace jobs, AI is replacing tasks — especially repetitive, data-oriented analyses are candidates for automation by AI systems”.

AI will be beneficial only if it is developed with sustainable economic development and human security in mind, and not centred around perfectionism and maximum productivity. How much AI must be regulated to favour ethics and human security over institutional efficiency is a vital question at this juncture.

The debate rages on!

Computer Vision can make a major impact in Hospitality business

The hotel & travel industry is clearly in need of redemption. Considerable change and disruption are forecast, and only the most adaptable will survive. Rapid change through AI and technology may be the need of the hour.

Artificial intelligence has enabled innovations and new opportunities to enhance customer service, and to boost customer retention, as well as to improve operational efficiency for many a business. Computer Vision, the new field of AI (also known as Vision Intelligence or AIVI) that trains computers to interpret and understand data from visual images and videos and then react to what they see, could well be the biggest ray of hope for the Hotel and Travel industry.

Several companies in the hospitality sector are gearing up to leverage the use of digital technologies to develop their overall business and enhance customer experiences.


By making sense of visual data in the same way as humans do, AIVI removes the need for constant eye balling of multiple TV monitors, and thus enhances video surveillance by detecting intrusions and unauthorized activities, and alerting the security mechanism. Physical monitoring of parking areas, restaurants, bars, pool decks, and perimeter boundaries becomes possible without human intervention since the computer receiving the camera images have been taught to recognize patterns, and identify and alert when there are anomalies.

Cameras are also easily taught these days to detect weapons and firearms in camera footage, and programmed to send alerts to the security team, which no longer has to keep monitoring the camera feeds. This reduces reaction time and might even stop violence before it starts. Detection of suspicious packages or bags lying unattended also helps improve overall security.

Surveillance thus assumes a whole new meaning with the adoption of Computer Vision.

Customer Experience

Computer Vision also helps to provide personalised service and support, for example by recognizing VIPs as they arrive for check in so that they can be prioritized for enhanced service. There is nothing a guest loves more than being given Customised and Proactive service. This is particularly true in luxury hotels.

At the other end of the spectrum AIVI also helps to alert presence of any undesirable person or known criminal. Face recognition is now a fairly well established technology that it can manage even staff access to restricted areas, thus ensuring guest and employee security.

Age recognition through Vision Intelligence also helps in controlling, say, sale of alcohol to minors without need for identification. Such measures aid in reducing load on Security and other personnel and free them for focusing on more critical tasks.

Monitoring and managing Covid protocols in crowded areas like a bar or pool-side also results in customers feeling safe and cared for. Random increases in guest traffic in certain service areas are also captured and alerted to management for any staff reallocation. Patterns of guest movement inside the hotel premises can also be collated to aid staff formations.

Kitchen efficiency

Improving kitchen efficiency and reducing food waste is a recent application based on computer vision that might well revolutionize food management in the not too distant future. It is based on capturing and processing food waste data non-intrusively by using cameras powered by Vision Intelligence directly over the bins, without human intervention and without affecting the operations.

Food waste data is considered as the most vital input in cost cutting as well as in reducing carbon emission. With more images being processed VI gets smarter each day and learns to give smart outputs without human errors, which eventually helps the kitchen management to take informed decisions.

Potential of AI in Hospitality

In a business sector where margins are tight, embracing the potential of AI is a step in the right direction. A McKinsey report on the global economy two years back had said that companies which ignore AI might actually see a major drop in cash flow. This could be very true of the hospitality sector more than any other. Vision AI is at a stage that it can play a transitional role and presents an opportunity for this sector to improve efficiency and widen margins.

Why Business Process Transformation is the heart of AI projects

All visionaries and thought leaders agree on one thing, and that is Cognitive Automation will enable faster and more accurate decision making in a world in which the speed and complexity of business are growing exponentially.

But how do companies and businesses benefit from all these powerful technologies to win in a competitive world?

There is a saying attributed to Gartner that Transformation is a business problem, not a technology problem. Artificial Intelligence and Technology cannot create business value or drive change in a vacuum. The most important thing is to study existing processes and practices, what the roles and profiles of people are in different jobs, and determine how to change manual processes to improve the outcome of complex jobs.

Insight is everything

Building AI algorithms are just a small part of the total solution. Creating insights and using those insights to set new benchmarks is the real challenge. This is why you need to have both the business and technical arms of your company to work together to enable real process change.

Decoding the business problem is the primary task in framing an AI solution. Is AI the best way forward? You can decide that only by rummaging through data about the business domain and by understanding interactions between the customers and the products or services handled by the business. Once you have enough data to analyse, use that data to decide whether or not the AI approach is the right way to solve a problem.

AI algorithms, which will of course improve the process of how work gets done, will follow only then. What these algorithms do is mimic the cognitive processing power of a human and automates data extraction. They are the breakthrough components that help speed up operations and at lower cost, but typically are however only 10% of the solution.

Adopting technology to make those algorithms create value is the next step. This essentially is the process of integrating AI into the IT architecture and operations, whereby the AI components function within that ecosystem comprising workflow, security, control mechanisms, and so on. You have now achieved tech advancement but only added a further 20% to the solution.

Changing familiar processes and systems already in operation is 70% of the work. It is only this that will finally impact the business and create value. While AI algorithms and technology are important elements, these capabilities needed to be paired with process transformation to make the solution work. Several changes may have to be made before genuine benefits accrue. This could involve organisational changes, staff redeployments, product segmentation, and plenty more, depending on the nature of business and the market catered to. Technology companies that have helped clients create business value using AI know that Business Process Transformation is what matters.