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Generative AI will bring businesses closer to their consumers through real-time data analysis: Sunil Gopinath, CEO, Rakuten India

Exclusive Interview with Sunil Gopinath, CEO, Rakuten India

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Q1. What should be the objective for CEOs contemplating Generative AI adoption at their organizations?
CEOs should be customer-centric in today’s business world. By testing how Generative AI can be integrated into daily workflows, the focus should be on using it to improve customer service. Generative AI can speed up basic tasks while reducing errors across dashboard design, model building or data engineering. This approach will significantly reduce wasted or under-utilised time and resources, allowing teams to concentrate on their top priorities. Most pertinently, AI should be used to derive insights from data sets more quickly, and this notion is being validated with the exponential rise of AIOps. For instance, a defining feature of differentiated competitive advantage for modern enterprises will be how rapidly they can leverage technology to generate insights for a specific scenario by drawing on identified interrelationships within available data-sets.

Q2. What are some of the challenges in implementing Generative AI at scale?
While implementing Generative AI can bring numerous benefits, there are also several risks associated with its usage. These include unintentional data privacy breaches, misuse of personal information, and the inadvertent replication of copyrighted material resulting in intellectual property violations. Additionally, organizations may face resistance and confusion when implementing Generative AI, leading to “future shock.” To avoid such pitfalls, C-suite leaders must grasp the potential of Generative AI and LLMs, those impacted by its use, and the policies necessary to ensure safe and responsible usage. One of the primary concerns is how to clearly demarcate ownership. Who owns the content that is generated by a generative AI system- is it the person who programmed the system, the person who owns the system, or the system itself? This is a complex issue that requires careful consideration and legal clarification.

Q3. What are some of the best-practices business leaders can adopt to maximise gain from Generative AI?
Generative AI will soon reimagine almost every vertical and horizontal area of an organization. Critically, Generative AI will bring businesses closer to their consumers through real-time data analysis that rapidly develop unique portfolios of customer preferences and behaviour to drive engagement. For middle-market companies with less robust IT resources, Generative AI should be used to increase bandwidth by streamlining communication between business professionals and computers, eliminating IT as the middleman for small projects and processes. CEOs can also use Generative AI to develop more accurate and relevant recommendation engines that personalize content and marketing messages to individual users, resulting in more conversions, customer retention, and increased revenue. Lastly, Generative AI should be institutionally incorporated to manage history of workflows over time, allowing employees to access organisational knowledge with ease and ensure that processes or expertise are not lost when employees exit the organisation.

Q4. Beyond the novelty of Generative AI, what about its relevant business applications?

Generative AI, beyond its novelty factor, offers a multitude of impactful use- cases for businesses and consumers alike. One significant area where it excels is in the realm of automated conversational assistants, and this will revolutionize customer support- not only with personalized and efficient assistance, but also streamlined processes for assisted buying and resolving inquiries. Moreover, generative AI enables innovative content creation in various domains. For instance, it facilitates movie dubbing in multiple languages, empowering global audiences to enjoy films in their native tongues. Language translation becomes more accessible and accurate, bridging communication gaps and fostering cultural exchange. Businesses looking at global expansion will be majorly empowered by this, particularly in being able to organise their messaging rather than recreating documentation from scratch. Furthermore, Generative AI can automate the generation and verification of production-grade code, accelerating development cycles, TTM and speed of innovation. In the realm of cybersecurity, Generative AI has remarkable implications for suppression and automation. It assists in identifying and mitigating potential threats, safeguarding digital assets, and proactively responding to security breaches. While these are just a few examples of how Generative AI can have a strong impact, its versatility and transformative capabilities are likely to see new applications focused on empowering businesses, enhancing customer experiences, and driving innovation forward.

Q5. Is Generative AI replacing jobs?
Generative AI is not replacing jobs but rather causing a redeployment of the workforce. In the next 3-5 years, Generative AI will be human-augmentative, meaning that it will be used to elevate human capabilities rather than replace them. For example, Generative AI can be used to develop creative content such as text, images, and music. This can free up human writers, artists, and musicians to focus on more high-level tasks such as ideation and collaboration. The role of Generative AI will likely evolve in the next 5-10 years, transitioning from human-augmentative to human-assistive. For example, Generative AI can be used to automate tasks such as data entry, customer service, and medical diagnosis; thereby, allowing individuals to concentrate on deeply complex and nuanced tasks that require active human judgment and critical thinking. While human intuition and intelligence will always be essential, those who fail to learn how to work with AI will likely become obsolete.

Q6. What do you consider as workplace barriers that prevent effective AI adoption?
There are several barriers to meaningful AI adoption, such as the lack of access to data, the high cost of implementation, and a shortage of skilled talent. Additionally, there may be resistance to change from employees who are used to traditional ways of working. These barriers can be swiftly addressed by providing access to data, investing in AI education and training, and communicating the benefits of AI adoption to employees and stakeholders.

Q7. How can businesses prepare for Generative AI disruptions?

To effectively prepare for the advent of Generative AI, businesses should prioritize open dialogue and shared advocacy goals. Through collaborative efforts, continuous learning, and up-skilling, enterprises can develop resilient strategies to adapt and harness the potential benefits of Generative AI. Furthermore, it is essential to establish standards that facilitate compatibility for data and insights exchange within AI systems, as well as collectively formulate ethical guidelines.

At Rakuten, we recognize the importance of empowering businesses against potential disruptions caused by Generative AI. To this end, we organised the Rakuten Product Conference on Generative AI and the Future of Cloud. This exceptional event brought together renowned experts from the domains of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science. Through insightful discussions, the conference explored the latest applications of Generative AI, emerging trends, implications, challenges, and new developments.

Creating such forums which dedicatedly deep-dive into Generative AI enables businesses to take informed decisions regarding the adoption of new transformative technologies.

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