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AI is augmented intelligence for us: Genpact CEO –

Trust and people’s judgement will generate a higher value than pure technology in an era dominated by artificial intelligence and machine learning, Genpact CEO NV ‘Tiger’ Tyagarajan said. New York-based Tyagarajan told ET in an interview that, going forward, AI would stand for Augmented Intelligence and not Artificial Intelligence. He also talked about the impact of the recent Delhi violence on India’s global image and the scare from the Covid-19 virus. Excerpts:BPO is people-heavy. How are you striking a balance with tech like AI and ML?Our focus on processes and understanding of the industry hasn’t changed since 2005. I don’t think digital creates any value unless you actually understand the process. So, when clients say, let’s use MI and AI, we say, no, let’s wait. You need to understand how you do process (and then the) diagnostics. A prediction done by machines using bad data is worse than (what) humans (do). Because, humans sometimes get it right or wrong. Machines, when they use bad data, will always get it wrong. The only way you get good data is by having a clean process. Our view is that AI and machine learning will become ubiquitous. We don’t think of AI as artificial intelligence, we think of AI as augmented intelligence.Are you saying these tech will not be a differentiator in future?It can be available to everyone. Therefore, the value of other things has gone up. In the world of AI, the value of judgement will go up. So, trust is going to become a currency. Ethics, lack of bias and experience will be a currency. Customers will pay for these (rather) than just plain technology – which is why people are calling the next wave as the experience economy.There are concerns about India’s efforts towards data localisation vis-a-vis BPO/IT?We are hardly the first to do this. Europe has done it with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It’s going to happen across the world. You just have to build a process to deal with it. It’s the right thing to do. If data is currency, then my data is my currency. My citizens’ data is the country’s currency. So, what’s wrong with that?Do you have a take on what’s happening in India right now? Does it impact the global image of India?Any time there is unrest anywhere in the world on any topic, irrespective of the view of whether the topic has merit or not, there is (loss of) money. It impacts commerce; livelihood of people. It does worry me. It impacts business. If the kind of violence that happened…happens again and again, there is no question that we would say, can we actually have enough of our business centre here in Delhi? Should we be (based) in some other place? That’s a natural discussion. Why do we have operations in some parts of the world, and not in others? It’s not totally driven by cost alone; it’s about sustainability. I think governments across the globe must understand that predictability is incredibly important for businesses.How will the spread of Covid-19 virus impact your business?I think the first question is, what’s the impact on our clients’ business. And, so far, I don’t think clients have actually stood up and said, this is exactly the impact in our business, because I don’t think anyone fully understands it, because it’s a fast-changing picture. It could have a negative impact in some industries but a positive impact in other industries and geographies. I think it’s too early (to tell).