Intelligent Automation: Transformation in a Time of Uncertainty | August 18 | Roundtable

Intelligent Automation: Transformation in a Time of Uncertainty


August 18, 2023 | Mumbai

Companies across industries are investing in automation and artificial intelligence projects that may increase efficiency, boost productivity, and help ensure their long-term success. Executives from business and IT gathered for this roundtable dinner to share their experience and ideas about how their firms can harness the power of artificial intelligence. 


  • Haresh Ambaliya, General Manager, Automation, Data Science & Machine Learning, Jio
  • Ayan De, Head of Enterprise Technology, HDFC Life
  • Krishnakant Gaitonde, Senior Vice President of IT & Head of Product Management, Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance 
  • Udayakiran Joshi, Senior Vice President – Technology, Espresso Financial Services
  • Suyash Katyayani, Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer, Purplle
  • Prakash Laxminarayan, Chief Technology Officer and Associate Vice President, Cognizant
  • Siddhesh Naik, Country Leader, Data, AI & Automation, IBM India South Asia
  • Jigar Parikh, Digital Transformation Lead and Director of Intelligent Automation & Tech Led Solutions, Cognizant 
  • Kirti Patil, Joint President – IT & Chief Technology Officer,  Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance
  • Vishwanath Ramarao, Chief Product & Technology Officer, ACKO
  • Nav Rauniar, Partner, TCS UK&I, Part of Tata Group
  • Krishna R.V., Vice President, Design, Nykaa
  • Kapil Sarin, Marketing Lead, Software, IBM
  • Killol Thakore, Chief Technology Officer, Edelweiss Alternative Asset Advisors
  • Rajesh Uppalapati, Chief Technology Officer, Nykaa

Bloomberg Participants:

  • Jeanette Rodrigues, Managing Editor for South Asia, Bloomberg
  • Ruchi Bhatia, South Asia Economy Editor, Bloomberg

Roundtable Highlights

Jeanette Rodrigues, Managing Editor for South Asia, Bloomberg, started the discussion by asking Siddhesh Naik, Country Leader, Data, AI & Automation, IBM India South Asia, about his views on AI and automation. “We are not independent [of data] anymore,” he told her, stressing that the kind of AI  being used doesn’t matter but what matters is the use case it serves.

Expanding on the subject, Naik said that Generative AI is predicted to become a major player in the AI world and will likely be responsible for powering multiple use cases. He concluded by saying that “Generative AI is all about automating the automation,” succinctly summarizing the promise it holds.

Rodrigues then asked participants about the divide between traditional businesses, such as banking and insurance, and non-traditional businesses, like digital commerce, when it comes to the adoption of AI and automation in organizational processes.

Kirti Patil, Joint President – IT & Chief Technology Officer,  Kotak Mahindra Life Insurance, said she saw customer expectations driving the adoption of AI and automation. She pointed out the drastic changes that have come about in customer demands over the last few years, noting that they seemed to want everything on their doorstep almost instantaneously, no matter the product or service.

The conversation then shifted to data security and its relationship to the implementation of AI and automation. Jigar Parikh, Digital Transformation Lead and Director of Intelligent Automation & Tech Led Solutions, Cognizant, said that “AI is not something new”.  He added that, although it’s been around for a while, it is still imperative that organizations ensure their data doesn’t leak out of secure boundaries.

Nav Rauniar, Partner, TCS UK&I, Part of Tata Group, took it further and said that if organizations want AI and ML to work,  they need to train the models correctly. If models are trained with incorrect data, he added, then it can adversely affect the outcome and impact data security.

Rodrigues then followed up with a question about where organizations should draw the line when it comes to data security and governance. Naik said there were two aspects to it. The first related to the foundation model on which the AI and ML algorithms are built. He said they must be monitored so that organizations are clear about the outcomes. The second revolved around AI governance for biases. With the datasets changing over time, he believes organizations need to control their drift and the possible outcome of the algorithms.

Next, Rodrigues raised the issue of human biases being fed into AI and ML models. She asked how everyone there believed organizations can ensure that these biases are monitored, controlled for, and even kept from being introduced into the system in the first place.

The participants agreed that organizations must have comprehensive sets of rules to ensure that biases are kept to a minimum or eliminated completely. Ayan De, Head of Enterprise Technology, HDFC Life, interjected that “With data comes responsibility.” He provided a solution wherein he explained that bias elimination would come from filtering or even utilizing biases to the organization’s advantage.

The talk then shifted to AI, automation, and data security concerns for India, a country that is both massive and diverse. “Quite difficult!” exclaimed De, when speaking about ensuring data security for all Indian customers. He said that, compared to other markets in the world, Indians were not brought up with the same fundamental expectations of data privacy and security. He also added that no one was ever ready for the massive transformation that we are currently witnessing due to AI and automation. 

Suyash Katyayani, Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer, Purplle, had a slightly different take. He argued that while data security is indeed a big challenge in India, we need to welcome this digital change that is happening both in India and around the world. He also stated that The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill is a good step in the right direction.

Katyayani emphasized that it is time that companies, large and small, and even startups handle customer data sensibly and ensure that any data collected is managed in an ethical manner. He concluded by saying, “It should be as mandatory for companies to follow basic regulations regarding data security as it is for people to file their income tax.”

Rodrigues then shared her thoughts about the relationship between humans and technology and how assisted automation will give rise to new opportunities. She asked the participants whether this combination of humans and technology is key to ensuring the successful implementation of AI and automation in any organization and whether AI would replace humans, leading to job losses.

Katyayani pointed out that at Purplle, they have been actively using AI and automation in order to optimize their business operations. He explained how the change for adopting AI and automation, for example, using Gen AI for marketing purposes, came from the employees themselves. He added that human supervision is still needed, even with the use of AI and automation. He also highlighted the need for organizations to be open to change and ready to adapt in order to utilize the new opportunities that come with assisted automation. He ended by saying that these technologies are here to stay.

This last point led to a discussion about generational differences and a widely shared view that the new generation is more open to AI and automation, even in their daily activities. The panel agreed that the new generation has indeed adapted and adopted these technologies, including Gen AI, more quickly than the older generation. “My son has learnt more from ChatGPT than from school,” explained Vishwanath Ramarao, Chief Product & Technology Officer, ACKO. This provoked a burst of laughter from the participants, but it showed how technology such as Gen AI is easy to understand and use for the new generation. Patil affirmed this when she said “They may not know what AI is, but they know what ChatGPT is and how to use it”

The last part of the roundtable discussion revolved around organizations being mindful when it comes to using AI and automation for their operations. Rodrigues asked, “Where do organizations draw the line between being fearful and being fearless with AI?

This led to a lively discussion among the participants, with each of them sharing their unique perspectives on the matter. Katyayani said there is no line that differentiates being fearful and fearless. Rather, it is a gradual process of understanding the technology, realizing its potential, and then slowly implementing it in one’s operations. Rauniar argued that AI and ML don’t always work and that there is a lack of foresight when it comes to understanding the impact of implementing these technologies.

Kapil Sarin, Marketing Lead, Software, IBM, emphasized the need for a clear demarcation between the two. He said that strict guardrails need to be in place when it comes to AI and ML, to which Patil responded that “ Recklessness is not in the technology, but in its use case.” The entire panel agreed that clarity of purpose and balance of risk is essential when introducing AI and ML into operations.

The panel ended with a discussion about the role of  government in the AI/ML revolution. Naik talked about how the government should be the custodian of user data and help organizations use the data responsibly. This led to Rodrigues’ final question about  “democratization vs. centralization of data,” to which Ramrao responded that “The right actors need to have the right keys.”

This Bloomberg roundtable was Proudly Sponsored By


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