Today we meet up with Ilan Kasan, Co-founder and CEO, at Exceed.ai, Exceed is a company that is disrupting traditional marketing and sales by using...
Vishal Kumar | Founder and CEO of Tao.AI
[00:00:00] - Vishal Kumar
Either AI is evil or either AI is my best friend, but it's neither. It's carefully in the middle. It's still a force of good if you do it well. I'm having sleepless night on this is if you don't do it right, in next software upgrade, your competitive edge would be everyone's competitive edge.
[00:00:25] - Doug Foulkes
Welcome to episode 64 of Chaos & Rocketfuel: The Future of Work Podcast, the podcast that looks at every aspect of work in the future. It's brought to you by WNDYR and Pattyrn. I'm sat here with my co-host, Claire Haidar. Today, Claire, we wrap up our conversation with Vishal Kumar, an AI expert and CEO of Tao.AI. What would you say are the highlights from our conversation today?
[00:00:50] - Claire Haidar
Some of the topics that we explore with Vishal in this specific episode are more broad than the first two topics that we spoke about in the sense that we're talking about things like, for example, we asked him what are the biggest misconceptions that he consistently encounters because this is his area of work and he is exposed to many companies. We also explore AI poisoning and AI bias, which are two very important issues for companies to be navigating right now. Then I really enjoyed the last part of the segment where we spoke to him and asked him about what is his hope for AI and the future of work.
[00:01:29] - Doug Foulkes
Yes, he put his own spin on letters, as always. Okay, let's join Vishal now.
[00:01:36] - Doug Foulkes
My first question to you is, what are some of the biggest misconceptions that you encounter around AI?
[00:01:42] - Vishal Kumar
It's the polarizing views, right? Either AI is evil or either AI is my best friend, but it's neither. It's carefully in the middle, depending on how silly or how amazing you are. It's still a force of good if you do it well. I think where I'm having sleepless night on this is if you don't do it right, in next software upgrade, your competitive edge would be everyone's competitive edge.
[00:02:12] - Vishal Kumar
If you give too much to the AI and say, "Okay, you will help predict my churn, you will help predict my culture, you will help set those undertones that my business is relying on, and then we have this next AI upgrade, and then now everyone is acting the same." That's the biggest care as an organization, because organization is a very art than science, and AI is super science. Now if you say, "Okay, let me draw with the science." You can see those AIs today that draw a painting of how.
[00:02:44] - Vishal Kumar
But that's not exactly how it should be envisioned as an organization because your livelihood is depending on it. It could get really people hurt if you don't use it appropriately. I think that's not so short answer.
[00:03:00] - Claire Haidar
Vishal, when I was preparing for this podcast with Doug with you, AI poisoning and AI bias were two issues that kept coming up, you know what I mean? Whether I was considering a certain question that I wanted to ask you, every time it kept coming up in the search answers that I was finding, et cetera. Talk to us about both of those things. First of all, explain to us what AI poisoning is and how it's different from AI bias, and how business leaders need to be aware of it and actively be working against it in companies today.
[00:03:39] - Vishal Kumar
Bias is a huge issue. If you capture the conversation, where the drift I'm heading to, it's primarily, get a good grip on the business; get a very good grip on what technology can deliver to your business. Because when you talk about, say, AI poisoning or AI bias, which is basically either it's too much AI relying and changing your business, or either it's basically in many ways, the bias of creators. It has another issue, and that we saw with existing tools that when we tried before, we conceptualize Tao as a separate tool in it in the ecosystem.
[00:04:18] - Vishal Kumar
Many of the tools that were delivered to us, they have some kind of preconceived assumptions which are pretty wild if you're a business. Either they say, "Vishal, it's you, we don't do anything. You tell us what to do," which is again, a problem, because many times, I don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to AI. Or on the other side when it comes to if you are a business who is not aware of what's going on or you are too aware, then you are living on your own biases.
[00:04:46] - Vishal Kumar
From that point of view, if you want to be free from AI poisoning or AI bias, I think it is pretty much understanding your role in an organization, understand what makes your business. I think culture is a very good example. As an organization, as an AI company ourselves, we do a lot of research around how we would navigate an AI around the culture, because culture is people emotions. Culture is a lot of those soft values.
[00:05:14] - Vishal Kumar
If you tell AI, "Hey, I have this one line mission statement, can you deliver on it? It's not a joke. From one of our clients that we're working with, that's the first pitch was say, "We have these seven values. We want you to check if the AI delivers on it." I said, "That's the recipe of this."
[00:05:30] - Vishal Kumar
You're actually telling AI to, instead of walking, just jump on your thing, because AI can find a loophole. Because when you say cultural values, be good, what does be good really means? Be good to the business, be good to a financial book, be good to what?
[00:05:50] - Vishal Kumar
I said, "That's why you don't outsource these things to AI. You come with exactly the specific problem you want solved." I think one of the best way to prepare your organization for AI is first making them aware of what makes your organization special. It's not the technology.
[00:06:10] - Vishal Kumar
I think as a technologist, when I say business saying, "Hey, we are a software company; we're not a service company." I had a chuckle with that thought. Market responds beautifully with that statement. Sure, they will save money, but if the technology listens to this, it's a joke. Then you're pretty much more technology than basically an art or core competency. I don't know if that makes any sense.
[00:06:34] - Claire Haidar
Yes, it does. Vishal, pre-nearing the end of our conversation here. My final question for you in this section is what is the greatest hope that you have for AI and the future of work?
[00:06:49] - Vishal Kumar
Cheesy answer is your company, but I think startups, right? One of the many young minds... This is a different outlook on this question, by the way. If you look at the AI, AI is as good as a talent building it or a group of talents building it. If big organizations working on the solution, if they consume this big talent and does not give them autonomy to think about this problem...
[00:07:17] - Vishal Kumar
Many of my fellow engineers who are really good in AI, they're working on a totally different side of AI. I think they could actually change the world, to me. Whenever I talk to anyone and say, "Hey, just design and care to start your own company?" Because as a technologist, you need a very free thinking and re-envisioning of what AI could deliver, if you're a good engineer.
[00:07:39] - Vishal Kumar
I think design from basically understand the nuances and solve it. If you're a technologist, start to dream. If you're a dreamer, work on the technology. Many times, history is a great guide. Another aspect which gives me hope when we see AI is we have seen extinction events for one species or the other every now and then. We have tons of data; we have tons of behavioral data. We have seen what leads to who survived, why they survived, and change is the only constant.
[00:08:15] - Vishal Kumar
With that in mind, we'll get through it. But this is the matter of understanding it before they understand us, and that's a bigger problem, I think. I spoke to one of the world's largest risk company, and he said, "Vishal, the biggest risk is if the AI understands my risk before I do, so then it's a problem." I said, "That's a very interesting philosophical way to look at it, that as a people, I should be slightly a step ahead when it comes to creativity of business."
[00:08:44] - Vishal Kumar
I think the hope is you are working tirelessly on this. I think there's many startups who are working tirelessly on this problem. I think that would be amazing when it comes to helping businesses. I think last, when we talked in our podcast, I talked to you about it gives us a lot of heartache when we talk to businesses and see businesses going down the tube of "Hey, AI will solve it or technology will solve it."
[00:09:08] - Vishal Kumar
That's why I think having someone like you or someone like some businesses who are looking at it from a fresh up can help businesses understand because they still have ton of value. They're just looking at it wrong.
[00:09:20] - Claire Haidar
Thank you for coming on and being here with Doug and I today. It really means a lot, Vishal. Yeah.
[00:09:25] - Vishal Kumar
Thank you so much, again, to you.
[00:09:28] - Doug Foulkes
[00:09:28] - Vishal Kumar
You guys are amazing and keep doing an amazing job. Hopefully, we'll make a just society with technology in it.
[00:09:35] - Doug Foulkes
That is the end of episode 64 and our intense look into AI in the workplace. If you found this podcast of value, please share it with your friends and colleagues. Catch us on Spotify, Google, and Apple Podcasts, or on WNDYR's website, W-N-D-Y-R.com. From Claire and myself, bye for now.