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Artificial Intelligence as a Driver of Digital Transformation

Artificial Intelligence as a Driver of Digital Transformation

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In December, the HSE Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge and the HSE AI Research Centre participated in UNCTAD eWeek to discuss the future of the emerging digital economy. One of the topics discussed during the conference was artificial intelligence and its applications in driving the digital transformation of industry sectors. The session was co-organised by HSE University.

UNCTAD eWeek is an event organised within the UN ecosystem and dedicated to addressing the cross-cutting development implications of e-commerce and the digital economy. It is a collaborative effort by numerous stakeholders who gather at the forum to maximise synergies and benefit from cutting-edge expertise. HSE University was invited to UNCTAD eWeek to debate the future of AI and its implications for humankind.

The digital transformation prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the development of digital technologies and made them a key source of long-term growth. However, it is important to consider that the implementation of artificial intelligence technologies poses a number of open questions related to the disclosure of confidential information to third parties, the emergence of additional requirements and rules for working in organisations, and others.

The session ‘Artificial Intelligence as a Driver of Digital Transformation in Industries’ was co-organised by the Paraíba State University Centre for Legal Studies, Terminus Group, and HSE University.

Alexey Masyutin, Head of the recently established HSE AI Research Centre, analysed the benefits and risks of using AI, showcasing its impact on two sectors: education and telecommunications. For example, object detection has helped high-level libraries with data transformation, highlighting the potential of AI tools to enhance the efficiency of model development. In education, there has been positive feedback from students using personalised guidance to enhance the learning experience and applying network design to enable faster and more reliable communication. However, AI’s impact extends not only to professional lives, but also everyday life through algorithms like face recognition on phones and personalised product recommendations when shopping online. AI has already become deeply integrated into modern life, bringing both advantages and risks with it. For example, AI can be used fraudulently to crack codes. Therefore, its application is heavily dependent on the intentions and actions of those wielding it.

The discussion was moderated by Mikhail Komarov, Chief Research Fellow at the HSE ISSEK Centre for Strategic Analysis and Big Data, Professor at the Graduate School of Business, HSE University. In his presentation, he highlighted that AI has indeed transformed labour markets, while also increasing the need for high-quality experts to control and conduct quality checks on AI services—especially seeing as most enterprises are actively engaging in implementing AI to improve their business, government processes and tasks for individuals. The demand for modern technologies to support human needs and AI remains high, however there is an ongoing discussion around whether AI should be replacing or augmenting humans. For now, the consensus is that AI is supposed to improve human development and assist with the performance of tasks. In addition, AI also plays an important role in fintech and agriculture by achieving quick results, while its role in healthcare is more complex due to ethical and confidentiality issues.

Ajay Mishra, Vice President of Accenture (India), highlighted the potential that sixth-generation networks could have in creating an ecosystem of devices which all have AI capabilities. His analysis suggests that the effect of AI will be akin to that of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its influence will be far-reaching and transformative. However, along with AI progression, academia must provide strong AI-trained human resources and include AI in curricula. Positive examples of utilising AI include Google Maps (which uses AI to suggest the best routes based on satellite images and mobile data), the application of AI in diagnosing and self-rectifying issues in mobile networks, and AI's ability to predict health issues and recommend healthcare visits based on specific parameters.

Dr Mishra will cover these and other topics in Spring 2024 in a series of lectures for the HSE University Master’s programme in Science, Technology and Innovation Management and Policy.

Konstantin Vishnevskiy, Director of the HSE ISSEK Centre for Strategic Analysis and Big Data, stated that by expanding its range to computer vision, natural language processing and speech recognition, AI has become an integral part of digital transformation. There have been almost 400,000 AI-related publications in the last decade alone. Some studies suggest that up to half of all jobs in the United States could be taken over by robots by 2030, which means that the future of employment needs to be carefully reassessed and new strategies to adapt to the changing landscape need to be developed.

HSE ISSEK’s own AI tool, the iFORA system, is a useful way of understanding the data gathering and analysis methods used in AI research. Its capabilities and extensive database, which includes over 700 million documents in multiple languages such as Russian, English, and Chinese, make it a valuable resource for researchers and analysts in various fields. It has been successfully used for over 100 different projects, receiving recognition from respected organisations such as the OECD and Nature.

The session also included presentations by Ivan Kolpashnikov, Expert at Eurasian Development Bank (EDB), and Cláudio Lucena, Professor of Law at the Centre for Legal Studies, Paraíba State University.

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