Generative AI has well and truly arrived and what we see in ChatGPT is its giant leap, says Animesh Samuel, Co-founder & CEO, E42. E42 is an end-to-end AI-NLP-based no-code cognitive process automation (CPA) platform that helps in building AI workers that can be deployed for automating processes across functions and industry verticals. In an email interaction with businessline, Samuel shared his thoughts on a wide range of subjects including why now is the time to hire AI workers. Excerpts:


In the recent past, you have spoken about how India can emerge as a leader in the AI space. Apart from the demographics, what makes you think India has what it takes to be a leader?

When talking about India’s potential, one cannot leave out our country’s DNA of having the world’s largest talent pool. In addition, when it comes to the AI era, thanks to the access we have to the learning content on all emerging technologies including AI, our talent pool will only continue to grow!

Secondly, it is undeniable that business process outsourcing (BPO) is India’s forte. Our country handles 56 per cent of the world’s BPO. In fact, 82 per cent of American companies prefer India when it comes to software outsourcing and AI-powered business process automation will play a huge role in increasing these numbers. Although business process automation is not a new concept, bringing AI into the mix gives us an edge.

Last but not the least, with the advent of no-code platforms like E42, there’s a huge opportunity for India to use AI to automate enterprise processes globally to provide AI workers for the global enterprise workforce.


You had launched your marketplace to hire AI employees last year. Since then, lots of things have changed...and are changing. Job cuts, funding winter, the recessionary climate and the resultant cutback in budgets etc. How do you see the whole proposition now in light of these developments?

We foresaw the changes that were bound to happen such as job cuts, funding winter, impending bouts of recession and the resultant cutback in budgets, and so on, and we made our bet based on our vision of AI’s impact on business process automation. We are seeing this impact now as is evident from reports that are pointing that 85 per cent of jobs that can be automated, will be automated by 2025. This is where click-to-hire AI workers fit right in, to fill the gap in the market. It’s also natural that in a recessionary climate, everything from job cuts to lack of funding leads to losses and the best way to reduce the impact on bottom line is by deploying AI for more efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

With this in mind, a lot of companies are reducing their R&D spending in new tech spaces. This is where our marketplace becomes relevant and no-code platforms like E42 become the destination for said companies.


You cater to a broad spectrum of industries/clients? Can you throw some light on new and interesting use cases?

We’re seeing a huge impact with intelligent document processing (IDP) where typically any unstructured document which had to be read and understood by a human for the data to be applied in decision-making can now be done by AI which is extremely innovative. This means huge savings for enterprises in terms of resource costs as well as a level of accuracy that cannot be achieved with manual document processing. Although RPA (robotic process automation) companies do offer IDP, the solutions only work with templates and fall short in terms of natural language understanding (NLU) which is at the core of AI-based solutions like those built on the E42 platform.


As far as natural language processing is concerned, we can see ChatGPT and its rivals like Bard and Ernie generating lots of interest. Does this mark an inflection point in the evolution of AI…the mainstreaming of cognitive process automation? What’s next in this evolutionary process?

The inflection point has already begun with transformers and generative AI. ChatGPT is definitely a huge leap and it has opened the door for more companies to come into the open data/domain space. This will help enhance most of our day-to-day tasks at a personal level. Similarly, in the enterprise segment, we see cognitive process automation (CPA) taking centrestage to make the enterprise intelligent.

The next step in the evolutionary process will be the ability of an AI agent to utilise its training to solve a problem in a completely different environment/area.


How does ‘social value alignment’ [of AI worker] sit in the new paradigm?

The social value alignment (SVA) of AI workers is also an evolutionary step in the AI space. Today, AI workers are more functional in nature – performing specific tasks and delivering tactical and strategic benefits. As part of the evolution, they will learn from humans as well as other AI workers – interestingly aligning with the collective goals of an enterprise.