INTERVIEW AI ASIA 2017

What advantages would a company have over a non-A.I company on a short term and long

term basis?

The most significant advantage on a short term basis would be an increase in productivity.

A recent Accenture report found that A.I could boost Singapore’s labour productivity by 41 per cent. Businesses are increasingly leveraging A.I. to automate workflows, analyse data and deliver reports. These businesses are already seeing the immediate benefits of greater efficiency and customer satisfaction over their non-A.I counterparts. For example in customer service, Cogito uses A.I to analyse phone calls in real time to detect human signals and provide live behavioural guidance to customer service representatives on how best to engage with a customer. Live dashboards also flag when further assistance is required on challenging calls, and provide insights into customer service representatives’ performance. These features provide very clear enhancements to efficiency and customer experience that would otherwise be challenging

to achieve.

 

In the long term, these twin advantages of efficiency and customer satisfaction will only become even deeper and richer, widening the advantage that A.I-oriented companies have over non-A.I competitors. Data forms the foundation of A.I and as a system collects more data points,
the solutions that A.I provides only become more accurate and more refined. This can already be seen in systems like Netflix and Amazon, where the A.I that powers their recommendations systems has become increasingly smarter at predicting user preferences as their user base grows over time and with more interactions.

 

Would you consider Asia a favorable place for businesses to grow using A.I?

The general attitude towards A.I in Asia is favourable, but leveraging A.I in Asia is not without its challenges. In more developed and connected Asian countries such as Singapore, China, Korea and Japan, A.I. is the way of the future. The government in Singapore, China, Korea and Japan have pledged to push for and encourage the development of A.I. in their respective countries.
For example, Japan’s government and business leaders are working hard to fulfil an extremely ambitious plan to have fully autonomous vehicles in Tokyo in time for the 2020 Olympics. China has set an ambitious goal to lead in artificial intelligence by 2030, aiming to build a domestic industry worth almost US$150 billion to ensure China’s companies, government and military leap to the front of the pack. A.I. is set to support all areas of China’s economy, from agriculture
and manufacturing to medicine. This regulatory push to promote the use of A.I. in the highly developed, digital economies of Asia thus creates a fertile ground for entrepreneurial individuals to grow their businesses using A.I.

 

However, the current state of piecemeal regulation in different countries with varying levels of regulatory stringency might prove difficult for businesses and start-ups to navigate, especially in countries that contain regulatory grey areas, most notably in the areas of data protection and cybersecurity. Further, A.I. is a technological “phenomenon” that will take root and flourish in industries that have a good degree of infrastructure, such as telecommunication, internet and electricity. Much of Asia and the population, especially in Southeast Asia remain living below the poverty line without access to proper sanitation or electricity. Developing countries such as Cambodia and Myanmar are unlikely to have the advanced infrastructure and economic demand required to support the deployment and supply of advanced forms of A.I.

 

In Asia, which sectors do you see A.I having notable impact on?

An obvious sector would be the financial services sector which is a big adopter of technology including A.I. We have already seen the widespread adoption of robo-advisors and with financial services institutions investing in data analytics hubs in the region. Healthcare is also one of the sectors where A.I can truly flourish in Asia. Asia is the largest and most populated continent on Earth and with this growing population comes great potential for the healthcare sector. The healthcare sector is expected to grow from over $1835 billion in 2016 to over $2660 billion in 2020. Asia’s ageing population will also drive healthcare expenditure in the region, and this growth naturally leads to more investment in developing technologies for this sector as well. A.I is already demonstrating how it can improve the quality of healthcare services in the region, helping to more accurately diagnose illnesses, to remotely monitor patients and to help develop targeted therapy.

 

Another sector that A.I will likely have a notable impact is the transportation sector. Asian cities are particularly notorious for their traffic problems – the classic examples of which can be seen in Manila, Bangkok and Jakarta. The use of A.I to enhance the delivery of public transportation services through better management of supply and demand and to monitor and manage congestion could help to significantly improve travel efficiency. The implementation of self-driving vehicles on a wider scale also has the potential to considerably enhance traffic flows
in these cities.

 

 

 

BACK TO NEWSROOM

 

Jeremy Tan

Director

 

Holborn Law LLC

 

 

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