AI as a technology is becoming omnipresent in almost every aspect of every industry. A tech that felt like a pipedream has turned into reality and is revolutionizing almost everything, it touches. As per Next Move Strategy Consultancy, we will be seeing a lot of AI influence in the next decade. In fact, a $100 billion industry (now) is expected to flourish and move twenty folds i.e. 2 trillion by 2030.
To give our community a better perspective, we invited Nitendra Rajput. Nitendra is an AI expert and Senior Vice President at MasterCard’s AI garage. His career has been spinning around for two decades and he has helped numerous multinationals with AI and research.
In this exclusive interview with him, we’ll be talking about the past, present, and future of AI.
Therefore, let’s begin it…
1) What is MasterCard AI and What is your role there?
I’ll start with my role first. I am working in MasterCard AI as the Vice President and Head of AI Garage Center in India. I have worked with multiple divisions such as IT, Sales, Marketing, etc. We lead these departments using data science and machine learning.
AI garage is primarily about creating AI-based products for the MasterCard division. See, there are multiple cardholders and merchants. Also, there are tonnes of transactions happening every time. To monitor these transactions, an AI algorithm is always at play to identify the legitimacy of the transaction (whether it is fraudulent or not).
Basically, AI garage tries to find opportunities where AI can be applied to cleanse the system. We seek these opportunities and build a product around it or provide a solution. For instance, we try to identify if a merchant’s device is hacked or not. This will help us identify if the details can possibly be uploaded onto the dark web whenever the card is swiped.
2) How is the banking sector currently thinking about incorporating AI and what is the industry expectation from Metaverse?
As you can witness that digitization is rapidly spreading. In fact, remember the last time you went to a bank, it would have been a while. Although, whenever a customer carries out a transaction, he/she leaves a digital footprint. This footprint can be assessed to figure out various insights and fraudulent activities.
For example, there was a customer whose spending patterns changed over time. This customer could be a college student 7 years back but now he has a job. Using this data, we can find the right place to intervene and tell him about different services. In fact, in the case of money laundering, it is primarily about transferring funds from one location to another for hiding the source of income and to evade taxes. These activities can be monitored by assessing the digital footprint to flag it at the right time finding the different sources of that money’s movement.
If we talk about the usability of Metaverse in banking, the sector is not really looking at it with any expectations. Instead, the sector is following its customers. Therefore when people buy NFTs and digital assets, they are creating an economy and creating a lot of data. In such situations, there are going to be fraudsters, therefore, a need to solve the problem using AI. Adding to it, there are also going to be opportunities. For instance, in the metaverse, the banks can provide loans for properties or supercars which would make the process a lot more interesting.
3) You started your career in 1998, how have you seen the technology change?
When I started my career in 1998, I was building speech recognition systems for Indian languages. These systems could transcribe data into text format, whenever, a user spoke to the computer.
I still remember me saying Hindi lines to our system such as “namaskar Hindi bhasha ke pradarsan mein aapka swagat hai”, which means, “You are welcome to see this demonstration of Hindi language”, and seeing people applaud, once it was transcribed to the text. With that system, our intent was to help doctors, lawyers, etc. that have a lot of documentation work that could be finished faster using the system. However, we didn’t have any mobile phones lest having a smartphone. It wasn’t anywhere close to what we have now when the Alexa’s of the world are being used to make voice-based searches which is generating tonnes of queries in comparison to text, in many places.
4) What was the expectation of AI experts back then with the year 2023?
I think they would have expected these things to happen much earlier. This is especially the case for people who were living and breathing AI. However, now there are smarter brains in more numbers. We have more people working on similar solutions. Although, the major constraint that we had was of hardware. You need hardware to process large amounts of data. Therefore, once the hardware upgraded, the digitization of data also increased and everything came together.
Although coming back to your question, we had hope. We believed that if our system can do what it can then there was a lot of potential. However, we were always constrained. In year one, we would tell a story with some success. In the second year, we would have a different story, however, the gap was much wider. But to answer your question, the AI scientists did believe it but not the public in general.
5) Is AI going to be human-savvy in the future from the perspective of jobs and creativity?
AI is a tool that can be used to increase efficiency. It simply means that people can do a lot more with it, in less time. However, if a lazy person uses it then he/she will rely on it to do complete their work. This would hamper their creativity. On the other hand, there will be people who would use it to increase their productivity. Therefore, the usage of AI in the future asks for a judicious call from the user.
6) As per you, the growth of AI is multidisciplinary, how do you think different sectors will contribute in the future?
See, one of the issues that have come up from the AI field is that suppose someone uses ChatGPT to create a song. ChatGPT creates songs by going through other music pieces that exist on the web. Now, who is going to own the copyright of the song? Considering this situation, it is not just the engineers but even the lawyers are already involved.
Let’s talk about education. Now, there is already a notion about the standard of education. Previously, a kid would go to school where he/she would learn content. However, today the Khan Academies of the world provide a lot of content, and teachers have to comprehend the student and change their teaching styles. It is because the students have already gone through what is being taught.
There are people in the healthcare division that uses AI-based algorithms to parse a CT scan. Radiologists can simply look at the report generated by AI agents. In fact, AI is providing aid for research in order to create new drugs. AI can create a lot of permutations and combinations. It can figure out what works and what doesn’t.
7) From the perspective of understanding the past, present, and future of AI, do you have a movie or a book recommendation?
I have two recommendations. The first is “Thinking Fast and Slow”. It is a good book for non-tech people. Basically, one part of our brain works really fast and the other part really slow. This book could be used to figure out how AI works and how it interpolates and extrapolates.
Another would be the “Virtue of Randomness”. It talks about human decision-making and how the data is used. Once you understand the human way of thinking, you understand how machines would do it. These are my two recommendations and you don’t need coding or algorithmic background to understand it.
8) Considering you’re involved in meditation as a practice, do you think AI can help with mental health issues?
Firstly, I am impressed that you know this detail. Although to further extrapolate, you must’ve heard of the term deep learning. It is called so for a reason because it utilizes neural networks in AI. These neural networks are like small compute units that can make small decisions and a large number of small decisions that can help in making a big decision. It is because, in deep learning’s neural network, there are large number of layers.
Although coming back to our brain, it is actually made of neurons. In our brain, two neurons are connected by something called a synapse in biology. These synapses reduce with age and hinder our capability to do cognitive tasks. If you see an 80-year-old person, it is not the strength but their ability to coordinate their body movement to walk perfectly.
Another example would be dementia. For a person who is prone to dementia, it is seen that their handwriting tends to change in a time span of 5 years. Right now, we can attach electrodes to a human and see their activity for a specific use case. This information combined with AI can help us figure out whether a person is prone to a mental disease or not. In fact, we can monitor the number of synapses reducing in a person.
9) Can you give us perspective on emerging crimes using AI and how it is being dealt with?
Well, you must’ve witnessed all these fake videos with a celebrity saying something but they never said it. From a banking perspective, it is threatening specifically from digital identity theft. We use a lot of banking applications, biometrics, authentication, etc. In fact, even on our phones, we have to type in a password.
However, what if fraudsters are able to synthetically create fingerprints or replicate the face and intrude on your payment systems by using fake biometrics? This is a significant challenge in the banking industry and this technology is frequently evolving. Also, there is a large amount of customer data which is sensitive in nature.
I use my phone on a daily basis. Now everyone holds their phone at different angles. Also, some use their thumb while others use their fingers to unlock the screen. All these things can be added to your biometrics that can work as metadata to profile you. Adding to it, let’s say someone makes a erroneous transaction to a merchant to whom I have never transacted or maybe there were two consecutive transactions in a small time span, one in Delhi and one in Mumbai. All this data can be used to figure out a spurious transaction. Banks can figure out these things using AI and stop the intrusion from happening.
Today, there is a signal from mobile, biometrics, past transactions, and from many other plays. All this contributes huge amounts of data that can be processed using AI algorithms to differentiate between good and bad transactions in the banking industry.
10) Keeping the technological advancement, what skills should our young viewers hone to have a good career in the future?
I got a comment from a different panel so it's not mine. It is “the fact that if you work as a machine then the machine will take your job”. So, if you work in an old-fashioned robotic pattern, the machine will pick it up and probably replace you.
The young generation needs to figure out things related to empathy such as mentorship, identifying creative opportunities, and things where machines can collaborate with you. When humans grow in their careers, they work with people and teams. These soft skills will be the differentiators and not technical skills. In fact, it won’t be wrong if people go back and learn those skills.
11) Are there any last thoughts that you would like to share with our audience?
I think we touched upon all the important ones. However, I would like to say that embrace AI irrespective of who you are and what you do. Whether you are in the marketing field or any other, AI is going to be pervasive. It’s like electricity which is widely available and if you use it wisely it has its benefits, otherwise, it can shock the user.
You don’t need to know the algorithms or coding and all the stuff that people think of such as taking AI courses. In fact, you can right now search AI for marketers, AI for business, AI for software engineers, AI for legal folks, etc. People already have high-level material associated with the tech and its perspective is different to different people. However, it's important to figure out what is AI for myself and be aware at that level, this is what I’ll recommend.
To follow the journey of Nitendra Rajput, check out his Linkedin. To keep reading similar interviews in the coming future, subscribe to MobileAppDaily and read our older interviews with multiple industry experts by clicking on the link provided.
Interested in authoring a guest article or narrating your start-up journey for MobileAppDaily?
Unveiling the pulse of mobile tech, our expert author at MobileAppDaily is your guide to the latest trends and insights in the app development sphere. With a passion for innovation, they bring you succinct analyses and a keen perspective on the evolving world of mobile technology. Stay tuned for concise updates that decode the future of mobile apps.
Are you one of the disruptors too?
We’d love to feature you.