“Salesforce is already in the process of adding a generative AI layer to all of our cloud services.”

AI For Business

Arundhati Bhattacharya, former chairman of the National Bank of India (SBI) and current country head of technology multinational Salesforce, meets with me at my home in Worli on a rainy Mumbai afternoon.

Bhattacharya personally walked out the door and ushered me into my conservatively but comfortably laid out apartment. Large hallways, large windows, bookshelves piled high, and cupboards undoubtedly containing various curios from her travels. The menu for the day is Bengali snacks and tea/coffee, and Bhattacharya concentrates on her work while drinking tea.

Given that all the recent news has been about US-India cooperation, and Salesforce is based in California, some are wondering how it will play out.

“Technology is one of the areas where there is less conflict between the two countries, and we recognize that both countries rely on each other not only in terms of technological depth, but also in terms of human resources. is the epitome of gaming.Given India’s large population, we are a very large hub of data,” she said, specifying that that doesn’t just mean personal data. . “If we can use such data for good reason, such as in the medical field, it can be a big plus. There are many in.”

She also points out cyber security. “It is very important to exchange and share what kinds of threats are being posed. How do we actually deal with these threats? I believe that both the United States and India, in particular, can benefit greatly from working together.”

Salesforce is a software company that primarily specializes in business software, but does she believe the expanding wave of AI is shaping her company?

“Salesforce is already in the process of adding a generative AI layer to all of our cloud services. We try to differentiate ourselves by creating experiences that we care about,” she says. “How do you create that unique experience? Leverage the data you have about your customers, create their golden record, understand their needs, and remember every interaction with them. Data can come from so many sources, and what generative AI does, as opposed to just AI, is getting data from all sorts of unstructured sources. Because you can read it, understand it, and make sense of it.”

Are you worried that AI will completely replace some jobs, or that they will fall into the wrong hands?

“We can say that this large-scale language model that exists today has the ability to learn. It seems that we do not know exactly how it learns, but as this learning deepens, there is concern that its ability to learn may exceed our ability to create and learn. We’ll learn about it to the point where we start.At the moment these versions don’t use any so-called Emotional Intelligence.There’s no EQ, but will it be learned in later versions?” she says. “I don’t know yet… AI applications have no sense. That’s what makes them different from humans.”

So what happens when AI-driven programs become sentient and wrap around EQ?

“We don’t know. So those answers are unknown at the moment. But what scares people a little bit is the speed of improvement. It’s very fast, evolution is very fast.” It went from GPT 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 and now there are 4 already in place and 4 can create images etc. So I don’t know how it will be before GPT 10.”

She went on to add that fear of the unknown should not stop development. “Even when people discovered the atomic bomb, and the hydrogen bomb, it could be used for good or bad purposes, but change cannot be stopped. There will be bad actors. How we protect ourselves is something we need to decide.”

She sees it in the context of the broader good. “Generative AI will help us as co-pilots and assistants. Imagine how much time could be saved if generative AI was used instead.”

she continues. “India, for example, is home to snakes, and snakebite accidents occur, so all state hospitals are stockpiled with anti-venom. Now, some places may be short of antivenom, but in places where snakebites are rare, the antivenom may actually be outdated. So you might have a resource shortage in one place and an overabundance in another because resources are not properly allocated, which can be solved with generative AI,” she says. says. “Similarly, a disease could be happening in one place, and we can figure it out long before it actually gets out of control.”

India’s Salesforce had suggested ramping up hiring. where is it now?

Bhattacharya said: “Over the past six months, we have added some in support areas, but not others. The pace of adoption has slowed, but I wouldn’t say it’s completely stopped here, and we’re looking forward to the next few years. We expect that pace to accelerate again in

Bhattacharya, what are your thoughts on the heated debate about telecommuting and 4-day workweeks?

“My own view is that you have to be very flexible. It’s very important that people get together to be really productive, but that doesn’t mean you have to prioritize your home over the office. Time doesn’t run out,” she says.

In fact, she did a small study at SBI. “In India, oddly enough, there are two other periods when women tend to be out of the workforce. Traditionally, that’s the mother’s job.” Another thing is when your parents or step-parents get sick. But being flexible during that period and allowing them to work from home for that period of time could save a lot of careers.
You can’t leave the planet without seeing Florence and its wealth of sculptures and works by Michelangelo (especially David).
Does Salesforce India have a specific policy regarding working from home?

“Our policy depends on the role. For example, a developer needs a large setup. I need a double monitor. What we expect from them is that they will be in the office when they are brainstorming about the product itself, but will be doing basic coding and development work from home. I have to go to work for a few days.”

She added that flexibility is essential for leveraging talent across the country, especially for India. “We have very good talent in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. You don’t need a sales person from Lucknow to come and sit in Mumbai. Yes, they will come from time to time when we are doing reviews, but more or less they can continue to work from home. The same is true for our industrial hubs.”

Her idea is to be smart and flexible and not impose a one-size-fits-all model. “Having said that, I still feel that we can work together, share information, and learn a lot during our tenure. I log out, no more conversations between the end of a meeting and the start of the next one, digressions when I’m packing up paperwork, etc. and moving house, and more often than not, insights become the main discussion It comes out as an aside instead,” she says.

Going back to the macro environment of the economic climate in this country, are there any speed bumps along the way? There is room.

What does the ex-banker and technocrat do when she’s not working?

Danish serials have recently been published, examples of which include ‘Exprovement’ on the topic of efficiency in an unrelated industry and how numbers can be misinterpreted as if they tell you just about anything. Two of them are Whole Numbers and Half Truths, which deals with the possibility of being And of course travel.

Bhattacharya said she recently spent a week in Rome and Florence and visited every art gallery she could. “You can’t leave this earth without seeing Florence and its abundance of sculptures and works by Michelangelo (especially David).”

If history repeats itself, art and culture clearly serve as an archive to the future – that’s the lesson.

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