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Adobe Allays Fears Over AI

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Las Vegas: Shantanu Narayen, Chairman, President and CEO, Adone Systems while launching Adobe's Experience Cloud in Las Vegas on March 22, 2017. (Photo: IANS) by .
Shantanu Narayen, Chairman, President and CEO, Adobe Systems while launching Adobe's Experience Cloud in Las Vegas (Photo: IANS)

As artificial intelligence (AI)-powered smart devices and solutions gather momentum globally amid fears of “bots” taking over jobs soon, a top Adobe executive has allayed such fears, saying AI will actually assist people intelligently….writes Sourabh Kulesh

Las Vegas: Shantanu Narayen, Chairman, President and CEO, Adone Systems while launching Adobe's Experience Cloud in Las Vegas on March 22, 2017. (Photo: IANS) by .
Shantanu Narayen, Chairman, President and CEO, Adobe Systems while launching Adobe’s Experience Cloud in Las Vegas (Photo: IANS)

“Saying AI will take over the creativity of humans is not right. It will take away a lot of stuff that you have to do in a mundane way. A human mind is a lot more creative than a machine,” Shanmugh Natarajan, Executive Director and Vice President (Products) at Adobe, said in an interview.

“With AI, we are trying to make the work easier. It is not like self-driving cars where your driver is getting replaced. I think creativity is going to stay for a long time,” Natarajan added.

Market research firm Gartner recently said that CIOs will have a major role to play in preparing businesses for the impact that AI will have on business strategy and human employment.

Global enterprises like Adobe are now betting on India to boost AI in diverse sectors across the country.

The company has a massive set-up in India, with over 5,200 employees spread across four campuses in Noida and Bengaluru and its R&D labs claim a significant share of global innovations.

According to Natarajan, a lot of work related to AI, machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) is being done in Adobe’s India R&D Labs.

“The way we have structured our India labs is very similar to how larger companies have structured it. There are separate lab initiatives and areas, including digital media, creative lab, Big Data and marketing-related labs and, obviously, document is a big part and we have labs associated with it as well,” the executive said.

Las Vegas: (Left to Right) Abhay Parasnis, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Shantanu Narayen, Chairman, President and CEO and Brad Rancher, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Digital Marketing of Adobe Systems at a press conference in Las Vegas on March 22, 2017. (Photo: IANS) by .
Abhay Parasnis, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Shantanu Narayen, Chairman, President and CEO and Brad Rancher, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Digital Marketing of Adobe Systems at a press conference in Las Vegas (Photo: IANS)

“With the Cloud platform, we are trying to provide a framework where people with the domain expertise can come and set their data and machine learning algorithms in play and then train the systems and let the systems learn,” Natarajan explained.

Speaking on the significance of India R&D labs, Natarajan said earlier the R&D labs were focused on North America where scientists used to come in from esteemed universities.

With India becoming a crucial market for research and development, Adobe started its data labs in Bengaluru under the leadership of Shriram Revankar.

“Nearly 30 per cent of our total R&D staff is here. Apart from other works, we file patents. Every year, Adobe India has been filing nearly 100 patents from a global perspective. We have eight patents coming in soon,” Natarajan said.

Interestingly, a big part of “Adobe Sensei” — a new framework and set of intelligent services that use deep learning and AI to tackle complex experience challenges — was developed in India.

On why there is a technology gap between India and other developed economies in terms of use of concepts like AI, machine learning and IoT, Natarajan said that people underestimate the country.

“The transitions and generational things might not be at the same level and sophistication, or the pace as compared to other countries, but here, the changes are dramatic,” Natarajan said.

“Everyone has a smartphone now and people have figured out that they can speak to their smartphones and retrive data. The data may be small as compared to 100 trillion that Adobe gets, but it is a Cloud and IoT device. People are interacting with them and machine is learning from this,” the executive noted.