While the full business potential of AI is yet to be fully realised, growing awareness about the tech, coupled with the current momentum, makes it an opportune time for organizations to identify sweet spots in the AI landscape
A year after OpenAI released ChatGPT, several companies, including open-source LLMs, started building on its capabilities. A prevalent worry amongst business and governmental circles is whether generative artificial intelligence (gen AI) will take away jobs and its impact on the workforce; even OpenAI CEO Sam Altman cautioned about posing an 'existential risk'.
However, Subha Tatavarti, Chief Technology Officer of Wipro Limited, feels the technology will empower individuals to work more intelligently and efficiently. She tells Outlook Business that it will enable new productivity gains for all jobs—IT, coding and engineering to marketing and HR—through immediate access to the knowledge needed to perform various tasks.
Since wide-scale adoption of Gen AI will require training, certifications, assessments, etc., Varun Dube, Head of Lab45 at Wipro Limited, explains how the DICE ID platform, created by his division, can benefit companies by extending the authenticity of issued certificates. By offering standardisation of verifiable credentials, it establishes trust and contributes to the creation of industry-relevant skills
Which high-valued jobs are most at risk due to the growing adoption of Gen AI?
Subha Tatavarti: The age of AI will need newer levels of AI-human collaboration. Employees will not only need to be able to work side-by-side with AI; they also need to develop new skills to elevate and redefine their value.
Overall, multi-disciplinary skills will be critical to success, including analytical thinking, problem-solving, seeing the bigger picture, and identifying patterns and trends. Further, everyone working with AI will need to be well-versed in
data regulations and industry-specific compliance requirements and ensure AI's ethical and responsible use.
In the long term, AI will disrupt every industry, and every sector will eventually become an AI business with a specific vertical focus.
What kind of new jobs will emerge in GenAI's wake and how will existing ones adapt to it?
Subha Tatavarti: Since GenAI is a new and evolving technology, we can expect the emergence of roles like AI trainers, data privacy and ethics experts and human-AI interaction designers. While core tech jobs may not undergo drastic changes, there is still a need for individuals who can enhance and responsibly develop GenAI and explore new frontiers in this field.
Over the years, the workload of those involved in IT functions and engineering roles has increased, leading to the profusion of numerous low-involvement tasks. GenAI will create new efficiencies, allowing employees to focus on more exciting aspects of their jobs by reducing time spent on lower-value, repetitive activities.
Ultimately, this shift will enable them to deliver better outcomes to clients. To prepare for this shift, companies will have to double down on employee training programs to prepare for the future need for AI skills and the potential disruption of job categories.
What kind of investment is Wipro making in this regard?
Subha Tatavarti: At Wipro, our AI-first approach is supported by a robust talent strategy where we provide our employees with the tools and tech they need to succeed in an AI-driven era. We have been investing in AI for a decade and building our competencies in GenAI for over two years.
Most recently, we announced our ai360 ecosystem initiative and made a $1 billion commitment to integrate AI into every platform, tool, and solution used internally and offered to clients. A central part of the AI360 strategy is the upskilling and reskilling of our employees.
In fact, we trained nearly 200K employees in foundational AI principles since August. Further, we have rolled out role-specific AI training across the organisation.
For example, we built two different training tracks. One helps employees utilise emerging GenAI co-pilot tools to improve efficiency. Secondly, highly skilled
GenAI experts can identify and solve business problems for enterprise customers. Additionally, as the training level gets more sophisticated, we are creating domain-wise training modules to ensure the specific needs of our business and service line are met.
As the definition of value at the workplace shifts, what opportunities does it provide to India's young labour force against the backdrop of rapid changes posed by gen AI?
Subha Tatavarti: India has one of the youngest populations and the most prominent tech workforce in the world. With its familiarity with digital tools and platforms, this demography of around 5 million tech-savvy people can provide a solid foundation for embracing and leveraging AI.
According to a Nasscom report, India ranks first in AI skill penetration. By 2026, the estimated demand is set to be over 1 million, presenting a significant opportunity for collaboration between industry, academia, and the government to harness the full potential of our workforce.
Varun Dube: Wide-scale adoption of gen AI will require training, certifications, assessments, etc. to foster relevant skills and organizations hiring talent will need to verify these skills. To enable this credential exchange, we are leveraging DICE ID, a platform created by Wipro Lab45 to issue and verify tamper-proof digital credentials without needing issuers.
Such a platform is essential because the problem of verifying and sharing credentials in a digital world is becoming increasingly complex, creating challenges for individuals and organizations. These challenges include the lack of trust in online credentials, the time and cost associated with manual verification processes, and the potential for fraud and misrepresentation.
Hence, we have established a talent ecosystem in India comprising over 100 edtechs, recruiting organisations, and background verification companies. We facilitate the seamless issuance and verification of skill credentials, including Gen AI. Edtechs can issue certificates to learners, and recruiters can subsequently verify these credentials during the hiring process.
Since the current gen AI use cases are still evolving with fewer proof of concept (POCs) is it too premature to fully gauge the technology's impact?
Subha Tatavarti: Yes, indeed, use cases for AI are still evolving, and potential applications are continually expanding. It will take time for these to mature and demonstrate their full potential.
As for verifying skill credibility, in today's digital world, verifying and sharing credentials is complex for individuals and organizations. They are faced with challenges, such as identity evidence tampering, online data susceptible to hacking, captured data that is often outdated or incorrect and impersonation due to manual confirmation of the holder's ownership of evidence.
DICE ID helps issue and verify tamper-proof credentials for a more trustworthy, inclusive digital society. All data is encrypted and embedded and only received by the user in their identity wallet. It lets users control their personal data, enabling them to decide precisely how much and what type of information they want to reveal in digital settings.
By adopting such platforms, tech talent and those joining the workforce can do away with issuing physical documents, eliminating data tampering and fraud. It also helps institutions reduce operational costs.
Hiring organisations and recruiters can focus on onboarding by reducing the time and cost required for managing Identity and Access Management systems. They can do away with physical document collection, reducing the turnaround time on recruitment. They can also collaborate with ecosystem players (academia, other organisations and edtech) to share mutually beneficial data.
Meeting the expectations of gen AI pilots can be challenging since companies seek POCs that can deliver impact, but they require this urgently. Given the lack of skilled people to manage these shape-shifting technologies, what are the risks of, and opportunities within, this approach?
Varun Dube: The approach of seeking quick and impactful PoC for gen AI pilots, especially in the face of a shortage of skilled personnel, presents several risks for companies. This includes an incomplete understanding of the technology that can result in developing PoCs that do not align with the organisation's long-term goals.
The quality versus speed trade-off can compromise the effectiveness and sustainability of the solution. Moreover, insufficient planning for scale because of the initial impact may not translate into sustainable, organisation-wide benefits.
However, as with any risk, opportunities exist too. Demonstrating value quickly with successful PoCs can build confidence among stakeholders and secure further support for broader implementation. Strategic learning and adaptation as insights gained from early deployments can inform subsequent strategies and help refine the organization's approach to gen AI.
At the same time, it offers companies a competitive advantage, allowing them to differentiate themselves in the market and stay ahead of competitors. It can also catalyse skill development as companies could partner with educational institutions or training providers to bridge the skills gap and ensure a capable workforce.
Will more partnerships evolve in gen AI now that the C-suite is involved this time and not just technocrats?
Subha Tatavarti: To build our GenAI competencies, Wipro has been doing research with leading academic institutions, building accelerators, and frameworks like Wipro Enterprise Generative AI (WeGA), developing competency through specialized courses through Wipro AI Academy and executing key pilot programs for clients leveraging these offerings.
We have partnerships within academia like the University of South Carolina and run a program with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) to build generative AI-based LLM for specific domain use cases. Since launching ai360, we also introduced a GenAI Center of Excellence in partnership with IIT Delhi.
The conversation on AI has transcended from being limited to technologists and has now reached boardrooms and even kitchen tables. This shift can be attributed to the democratization of AI tools like GenAI, which has made it more accessible to a broader audience at an unprecedented pace.
In the next five years, we anticipate a wave of AI services, including AI model training, AI model hosting, and vertical-specific data preparation, to emerge. These services will play a crucial role in helping enterprises fully capitalize on the immense potential of AI. Recognizing the need to embrace this wave, organizations increasingly know the importance of partnering with the proper entities.