‘Infosys has outlined 8 broad areas for AI’ | Mint
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Business News/ Companies / News/  ‘Infosys has outlined 8 broad areas for AI’

‘Infosys has outlined 8 broad areas for AI’

At its first quarter earnings announcement, the company also committed to train 40,000 employees on generative AI skills

Infosys chief technology officer Mohammed Rafee Tarafdar.Premium
Infosys chief technology officer Mohammed Rafee Tarafdar.

Bengaluru: Information technology services leader Infosys Ltd recently said it is taking an artificial intelligence (AI)-first approach for all its business and operational needs. At its first quarter earnings announcement, the company also committed to train 40,000 employees on generative AI skills. In an interview, chief technology officer Mohammed Rafee Tarafdar explained Infosys’ AI strategy. Edited excerpts:

What is Infosys’ AI-first approach?

We have been working on AI for some time, with a lot of our initial investments in technologies like machine learning and deep learning. So, while a lot of work or the building blocks for AI were already in place, last year, we saw the potential of the foundational models. The AI-first strategy simply means that we are reimagining everything that we do from a business standpoint to incorporate AI.

There has not been a change in strategy. We were always focused on AI and that continues. It is just that with generative AI and with the launch of ChatGPT, AI has become consumerized which means anybody, even without the knowledge of AI, could use it. The last time this happened was with mobile technology and that led to a significant push on mobile technology and the same is happening now with AI. This now has become a boardroom agenda and hence, we are also amplifying the potential of the technology and how it can influence business.

Is Infosys building its own foundational models?

At this point, we are creating fine-tuned models, which involves taking open models and applying an approach called narrow transformer to suit our needs. Creating specialized fine-tuned models has been a good fit for a lot of our projects. In terms of creating our own foundational or base models, we are still exploring that option, but a lot of needs are met through the fine-tuned approach today.

What kind of value or return on investment (RoI) is Infosys observing with its focus on AI at this stage?

While I cannot share specific metrics in terms of RoI, I can tell you that we have recognized eight broad areas for AI applications that include software engineering, IT operations, business operations, customer service, advisory service, contact centre, sales and marketing, employee experience and learning. We have seen some early successes and results, but we’ll have to wait to see a broader impact.

Infosys said it is training 40,000 employees in generative AI. What kind of training are you referring to?

We plan on eventually having three levels of enablement. The first one is training people on what is generative AI, what can be done with this technology, and what are the use cases. The second set would include training AI builders who will be using a lot of AI services that are already available to create specific AI-first solutions. Lastly, we will have AI masters with deep AI skills that span creating pre-trained and fine-tuned models, model performance optimization, safety testing, and adherence to responsible AI guardrails.

What are the changes in the hiring trends at Infosys against this backdrop?

We are more focused on creating tech talent that includes these AI builders and masters who can work with our clients on specific projects. In terms of general trends, AI would be leveraged to amplify and improve the skills of human workers. We will also see the creation of a lot of new roles.

Beyond AI, what are the other areas of focus for Infosys in emerging technologies?

AI builds on to the entire digital and cloud transformation. Beyond that, the metaverse is something that we explored last year, including launching a metaverse foundry. Development in overall AI technologies will also accelerate innovation in this field.

Sustainability and green IT are another big area of focus for us as our clients begin to activate a number of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) guidelines.

Further, responsible by design will also be a big area, not just limited to AI but in a myriad of other areas. Beyond this, there are evolutions happening in cloud computing, 5G, and autonomous tech, and all this is complementing and driving a lot of ships.

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Published: 13 Sep 2023, 10:33 PM IST
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