Tanmay Bakshi / TED speaker, IBM Champion, Honorary IBM Cloud Advisor — Tanmay Bakshi, one of the youngest programmers in the world, uses cognitive and cloud mechanisms to build applications designed to broaden human skills. Bakshi is the architect of neural networks, and the author of the publication; a speaker at TED; he bears the title of IBM Champion and Honorary IBM Cloud Advisor and also runs the IBM Facebook Live Series series called Watson Made Simple with Tanmay. The passion for learning and sharing his experiences is shown on his YouTube channel, in books and publications for the media. He is an expert in the field of using cognitive calculations in such areas as banking, finance, healthcare and medicine, as well as music and chatbots.

Agnieszka Wielgosz: So excited to have you on board, Tanmay! You’re one of the youngest programmers in the world who uses cognitive and cloud mechanisms to build applications designed to broaden human skills. I’m curious, where is this disruptive innovation form coming from? Is it technology or something else?

Tanmay Bakshi: Thank you very much!

Using Cognitive & Cloud Computing (and other new technologies) is what I’m passionate about, and mainly applying them in fields like Healthcare is what I’m interested in. Indeed, this innovation is coming from technology — mainly, new and powerful sets of algorithms, like Machine Learning. The applications for this kind of technology are not limited to one specific field or industry; it’s applicable wherever you’re collecting some kind of data from which you wish to garner insights. Because of the broad possible set of applications, 72% of all companies vote ML as the most innovative technology out there today, according to HBR (13% vote for Cloud, and 7% vote for Blockchain).

Healthcare, however, is in a unique position to benefit the most from the potential of this technology. There’s a vast amount of data; over 60 billion medical images were generated in the U.S. in 2015.

There’s also a lack of manpower. It’s estimated by the WHO that by 2035 there’ll be a global healthcare worker shortage of 12,900,000 people. With Machine Learning tech, you can lower the barrier of entry into the field, augment the intelligence of the people already working in the field, and make use of the big data being gathered. One of my projects in this field is around enabling artificial communication for those who have lost their natural communication ability to a disease or an accident. It works by understanding their EEG (Electroencephalogram) through custom machine learning algorithms that I develop.

AW: Within the broader technology landscape, five types of technology are transforming global production systems: internet of things, artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, wearables, and 3D printing. These technologies are providing opportunities to create value to society. What values do you see them bring to society?

TB: There are lots of new and innovative technologies out there. You’ve mentioned five, but there are also many more as well. I believe that out of all this new tech, the one that’s more versatile is definitely Machine Learning. There are also some technologies that I believe have a lot of hype around them, but definitely aren’t as important as people make them up to be. One example is Humanoid Robots — the hardware, and the software that controls the hardware, is definitely advanced. But what’s important is finding the right kind of use case to apply them to! Lots of companies would put a simple chatbot on a humanoid robot, and essentially have it act as a simple speech input/output system. That’s not nearly as useful as the technology should be! But when a lot of this technology is combined, then the true power of each really shine, for example: imagine being able to use IoT to track sensor data from 3d-printed components in a machine, and then you use ML to understand and analyze that sensor data to figure out if something’s going to go wrong. This would be called Predictive Maintenance.

AW: Information and communication technologies (ICTs) has the enormous potential to improve people’s lives, and definitely has enormous potential to full speed advance the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). I know you’ve been working diligently to improve the lives of others and have partnered with IBM Watson to collaborate on various AI projects. Please share with us the project with which you are currently involved, and why is it important to you?

TB: Sure, thanks! I’m working on numerous different projects that leverage machine learning technology in order to augment human lives. These range in fields from finance to healthcare. In fact, my latest project is called “Market Alerts,” and it aims to use machine learning to help people deal with information overload in the finance field by summarizing all the data they need and bringing it to their fingertips.

In healthcare, another project that I’m working on is around tracking the data that people generate every day on their mobile devices in order to predict if someone is going to suffer from depression. This is all important to me because this tech has the potential to save and augment the lives of millions of people — but it’s critical that this technology is applied in the right places.

AW: Let’s imagine it is midcentury 2030–2070 — we live in the most utopian society ever; there is an Artificial Intelligence everywhere. The human race is overtaken by our own creation. All people around the world reap the benefits of its smarts. How does this fully functioning cyber world, which merges the real world with images from a computer, affect humanity and social and economic development issues including: poverty, hunger, health, education, global warming, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanization, environment and social justice?

TB: First of all, I’d like to point out one thing: having our own creation — in this case, AI — overtake us is impossible. It won’t happen, no matter how much technology progresses.

If it does, it won’t be AI, it’ll be biotechnology — humans artificially synthesizing something organic/natural. However, what I can say, is that more and more of the technology that we use will be powered by machine learning in some way or another. This will, at least in the majority of cases, be GREAT for us as humans! Finland is already toying with some UBI (Universal Basic Income) concepts, and machine learning tech should only speed up that progression. In education, ML will enable us to move away from a “one-size-fits-all” curriculum to a more personalized learning system.

It’ll make us more efficient with our resources, and help us make full use of them as well. It’ll remove innate human bias that we can’t get rid of. It’ll help us understand ourselves better, in ways we never could have on our own.

AW: As technology advances more rapidly than our understanding of it — what is one piece of wisdom you would share with your younger friends? What do they need to learn to lead in 2050?

TB: The one thing that I’d like to say is: do what you’re passionate about. Your passion could be art, science, programming, sports, or anything else. Follow your heart and passion.

Also, make sure you’re very perseverant — don’t give up, even at the thousandth road block. Just realize that every time you solve a problem, you’re just getting better and gaining more experience.

AW: Please share with us one thing that has INSPIRED you?

TB: One thing that inspires me every day is definitely all the people that reach out to me, asking me questions, and sharing their feedback. It keeps me going, and acts as the kind of “driving force” behind what I’m doing. I also love seeing the impact that the apps I build have on people’s lives, specially in fields like healthcare.

“On August 1st, UNDP joined the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (AI), a consortium of companies, academics, and NGOs working to ensure that AI is developed in a safe, ethical, and transparent manner.

Through the partnership, UNDP’s Innovation Facility will work with partners and communities to responsibly test and scale the use of AI to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

By harnessing the power of data, we can inform risk, policy and program evaluation, we also can utilize robotics and Internet of Things (IoT) to collect data and reach the previously deemed unreachable — to leave no one behind.

The promise of AI is not limited to commercial applications. It shows great potential to help solve some of the world’s most challenging development problems that UNDP staff across the world contend with on a daily basis.” *Resources http://www.undp.org/

Agnieszka Wielgosz is the founder of CEI Collective LLC and global media specialist committed to support businesses in bringing the human touch into their marketing through CEI ventures via #CEImedia and #CEIproject.

Beyond client work, her company is committed to raising public and media awareness about UN Sustainable Development Goals via #CEIproject, which is a proactive initiative focused on activating conversations that inspire change through conscious actions. Wielgosz interviews a wide range of conscious business leaders, experts, creative catalysts, innovators, and change makers who use their core business strengths as a force for social good. Wielgosz’s mission is to support productive conversations that move us forward as individuals and as a global society.

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