Alexa, Google Now and Siri are just the tip of the iceberg of the upcoming artificial intelligence revolution. IT services and consulting firm Infosys envisions future enterprise AI systems that may alter the very nature of work, turning businesses into hyper-efficient organizations and enabling an era of improved productivity and high-value output from tomorrow's workers.
The company is betting big on AI and automation technologies to help its customers accelerate their digital transformations and prepare for a future in which business processes work reliably in real time. Informed by advanced analytics, automated systems can take it upon themselves to initiate and complete complex workflows without bogging workers down with menial tasks.
Dr.Vishal Sikka, CEO of Infosys, is particularly bullish about AI and its place in the corporate world and beyond.
"With the rapid advances we have seen in AI, I think it is safe to say that anything repeatable, anything that can be mechanically articulated and can be precisely articulated, is going to be done automatically," said Sikka during his keynote address at Confluence 2017 in San Francisco today.
"In our lifetimes, for sure, we will see AI technology evolve to the point that anything that can precisely be described" will be offloaded to AI systems, he added.
Mindful of the potentially negative effects that AI can have on work forces and society as a whole, Sikka's team is nonetheless is making an aggressive push to imbue complex business processes and workflows with AI and automation.
Key to the company's efforts is Nia, the company's artificial intelligence platform. Launched last month, Nia combines a number of existing Infosys AI technologies and some recent acquisitions, providing customers with an integrated technology suite they can use to add intelligence to business processes, accelerate workflows and help businesses better capitalize on their organization's institutional knowledge.
Nia got its start last year as Mana, an AI platform aimed at simplifying and automating IT, said Sikka. Shortly after its 2016 launch, Infosys realized that the platform and its tooling offered the company an irresistible opportunity to use the technology to apply it to business processes and build "breakthrough business applications," he said.
Helping organizations create and deploy those AI-enabled applications, Nia combines the capabilities of Mana with AssistEdge, a robotic process automation offering from Infosys. Additionally, the platform includes scalable, enterprise-grade machine learning technology from Skytree, a recent Infosys acquisition along with natural language processing, optical character recognition and infrastructure management services.
Used in concert, the possibilities are practically limitless, according to the company. Possible use cases include improving the order-to-cash process with real-time risk profiling to help businesses get pad faster, prevent disputes and forecast cashflows.
Although AI is often viewed as a tool that removes the human element from business practices and other facets of life, Sudhir Jah, senior
"Nia means purpose in Swahili," Jah told eWEEK. Infosys' purposeful approach to AI and its other areas of IT expertise reflects a new "philosophy of amplifying humans [and] amplifying their potential," he said.
vice president of Product Management and Strategy at Infosys stresses that Nia is an enabling technology that can enrich employees, not displace them.