When Shivaram KR, CEO at Curl Analytics said that when he wanted to see where the future of artificial intelligence lay, he read over 50 science fiction books. This statement by a machine learning expert with over 13 years of work experience, evoked peals of laughter at this year’s edition of Data Science Summit, held in Bengaluru on Friday. Shivaram was speaking about the future of AI and deep learning at the event.
The Data Science Summit event was organised by Institute of Product Leadership (IPL) and saw many noted names such as Atul Batra, CTO at Manthan, Dr Rakesh Mullick, chief scientist at GE, Nitin Sareen, SVP of Analytics at Aditya Birla Group and Sameer Dhanrajani CSO at Fractal Analytics, among others. Industry leaders spoke on a myriad of topics such as early adoption of AI in organisations, making India a key destination for new tech and myths and facts about data science, among others.
When asked about whether data science was merely a buzzword still, or had it gained ‘real’ acceptance as a core science and career in the industry, Sareen said during a panel discussion, “Data science is definitely a real career today. It was previously called analytics, now data science. While it may be more evolved today, it is fundamentally the same techniques at the core. Data science isn’t just a ‘good to have’ anymore. Businesses have realised the potential it has to enhance what they do. Data science is definitely viable and here to stay as a career.”
The response by Dr Rohini Srivathsa, a noted data science and AI leader, evoked peals of laughter from the attendees. She said, “Data science is quite like the garam masala in your kitchen. It has always been there, always adding value. The only difference now is that it is now explicitly being called out and brought to the forefront.”
Talking about career opportunities in data science and analytics, panelists said that most of the resumes were filled with the same keywords. Dhanrajani said, “The folly lies with us, as an industry as well. The challenge for our industry and industry experts lies in identifying what is needed and then standardising the job descriptions, which we put out. We need one voice for one job. With 1,000 odd job titles, expecting job seekers to send in the right resume isn’t possible. We need to work towards structuring the industry better. Ultimately, it is not the title or control that is important. The impact you can make to the client matters most.”
IPL, a Bengaluru-based institute is one of India’s first B-School for technology managers. The institute as well as the event aimed to introduce few key early adapters in AI, bust some of the myths surrounding jobs and career in data science, AI, ML and analytics.