Artificial intelligence (AI) seems to be the big buzzword of 2024, be it smartphones, laptops, or even enterprise tech. No wonder then that it was front and forward at the unveiling of MWC 2024 in Barcelona. businessline attended an exclusive discussion on whether the buzz around generative AI is justified or whether it’s an overhyped aspect of technology.

The discussion was moderated by Bobby Srinivasan, GSMA, who posed this question to a panel that consisted of Don McGuire, Senior VP and CMO of Qualcomm Inc., Aparna Khurjekar, Chief Revenue Officer, Verizon Business, and Eugina Jordan, CMO, Telecom Infra Project, a global community of organisations driving infrastructure solutions to further global connectivity. 

On having an AI-heavy workplace

Opening up a debate around the future of the workplace and whether it would see more AI replacing the human workforce, Bobby wondered if it could be a hybrid between humans and AI as well. 

Don McGuire shared, “I don’t subscribe to this idea that AI can replace humans. It’s meant to replace tasks, not jobs. It’s about utilising these tools to create a better work environment and work-life balance.”

Emphasising that it has more to do with supporting staff augmentation and skill replacement Aparna Khurjekar stated that at Verzon Business, integrating generative AI has already seen a 16 percent increase in productivity for sales representatives and better customer satisfaction as a result. 

Use cases for AI

Speaking on the differences between AI use cases and generative AI use cases, Eugene shared that AI is when one decides to use machine intelligence instead of human intelligence. Deep learning is how this is facilitated, for example, by LLM (large language models) and natural language processing. As a result, there’s generative AI, which consists of images, maps, and blueprints that can be used by both enterprises and individual consumers.

However, what is important is how you use generative AI. According to Eugene, first companies need to think about how to use generative AI to make their teams more productive. And secondly, what do companies want to build with generative AI that can be used by both personal or enterprise customers? 

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The panel also touched upon the implementation of large language models (LLM), which is a type of artificial intelligence program that can recognise and generate text, among other tasks. LLMs are trained on huge sets of data, hence the name “large.”

Eugina emphasised that this data needs to be open source for the benefit of the whole industry, and companies need to figure out ways to collate this data without violating users’ privacy concerns.

The writer is attending MWC 2024 at the invitation of OnePlus