Last week, my colleagues and I attended the AI Summit in San Francisco – keen to hear first-hand how many of our clients, partners and industry peers are leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies – and what challenges are impeding adoption.

If there was any doubt, the buzz at this event certainly cemented the fact that the “Fourth industrial revolution” is upon us, and the “AI Gold Rush” is real. Summit attendees and speakers included industry stalwarts like IBM, J&J and GE, dot-com era companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon, and new startups, including X.AI, CrowdFlower,, IPONWEB, and Darktrace.

The common thread across all of these firms, big and small, is an acknowledgement that AI (cognitive-like functions in machines that humans associate with learning and problem solving) will be transformational for business – and the adoption of AI is a mandate for survival in the new economy.

With representation from very different areas: Marketing, Sales, Technology and Consulting – we captured our big “Ahas!” from the sessions:

Alexander Veytsman, Cognizant Automation Consulting Leader

The AI Summet AI Summit did not disappoint this year! The presenter from Google called out a clear void in the maturity and standardization of specialized tools for development of AI and ML technologies. This revelation is key, as Google is starting to shift their fundamental business model from mobile to AI and Cloud Machine Learning.

On the other side of the coin, Facebook announced their next level AI and ML modeling tools called “Facebook Learn.” A step in the right direction but it remains internal for the time being (with an open source release planned for 2017). It was intriguing to see two industry juggernauts representing two sides of the solution; an excellent opportunity for them to come together on a joint venture (I hope!).

On chatbots, another presenter gave a real world presentation noting that a bot needs to have a degree of sophistication and “smarts” to be ready for an interaction with a human customer and to be able to add meaningful value to the experience.

Moreover, the AI and ML market is projected to reach $2 trillion in the next decade and the first movers in this 2 trillion-dollar industry will take a large part of the pie. For more insights of mine on the summit, please read my LinkedIn blog.

Rajat Sharma, SBU Head CIS, Banking & Financial Services

Attending AI Summit was exciting because we heard perspectives from various industries, departments, and business units, including top notch experts from leading academic institutions such as Stanford University and the University of Surrey.

I really appreciated the presentation from Microsoft that covered some nuances of using AI and ML and how they make decisions from pattern recognition. He highlighted a number of correlations which looked fine but were deceptive and should not be used for decision making through AI.

The AI market has a long way to go; it is important to note that it varies from person to person and from an industry use case perspective. AI is clearly becoming a critical part of the future enterprise strategy of many industries. It will work hand in hand with humans to solve the most critical and challenging problems of our world and will soon touch every aspect of our lives, from personal to professional. Check out my LinkedIn blog for my complete review of the summit.

Santosh Dubey, Senior Director, Infrastructure Services

After attending several sessions by some very knowledgeable speakers, it became extremely clear that, over the long term, the only competitive advantage or differentiation enterprises will have is data and how effectively it is used to conceptualize, design, personalize, service and sell their products and services.

Tremendous amounts of data are generated and will be generated through every aspect of business and technology process life cycles. The promise of AI will be the ability to sequence, format, infer, recommend and possibly create an extremely personalized products and services which fluidly learn and adapt over time as the consumer’s or subscriber’s needs and desires change.

Easier said than done! I am convinced that our biggest “Aha!” moment will be when intelligent machines and humans collaborate successfully in real time. My entire assessment of the summit can be found on my LinkedIn blog.

There were many common themes at the AI Summit; the push toward open source solutions, cost reduction through insightful automation, and partnering to bring innovations to market faster. Providers that are flexible, innovative and focused on the customer will be the leaders of the AI industry in the coming years. The race is on!

Feather Hickox

Feather Hickox

Feather Hickox is AVP Marketing within Cognizant’s Digital Business practice, and also serves as the Executive Sponsor for Cognizant Women Empowered, a... Read more

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