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Bayer Digital Innovation Expert Lucky Pamula Talks To Durtti About Emotionally Intelligent Machines

Mountain View based Lucky Pamula draws significantly upon his early personal life experiences in his quest for innovative new products and services that improve life quality and happiness. Durtti wants to understand just how significant Bayer’s advanced research into “emotionally intelligent” machines is to achieving his goal.

Part of your research interest involves learning how to train machines to have emotions. What will some of the key benefits be, in your opinion, of teaching a machine to have emotional intelligence, Lucky?

Emotions are critical for human wellness and survival.

Positive emotions help balance mental health, and negative emotions sometimes signal underlying health problems.

If we train the machines to detect emotions, they will be able to identify early warning signs of developing health problems and could allow healthcare professionals to treat ahead.

It is now possible to detect basic emotions such as happiness, anger, sadness, and surprise and many micro facial expressions using A.I.

Can you foresee any downside that we need to be aware of in society if we create machines with emotions?

Unintended consequences are potential downsides of emotionally intelligent machines. We train the machines on how to recognize the emotions and make decisions based on them. However it may be possible that machines may make inaccurate predictions leading to incorrect decision making. For example if the machine detects that a patient is in severe pain when there is only moderate pain then it can lead to higher dose prescriptions. This can cause side effects and can sometimes lead to life threatening conditions. That is why it very is important to enforce strict regulations to release the best machines into the market.

How have the data visualization methods that you use in your work changed in the last 3 years, and how do you think data visualization techniques will evolve in the next 3-5 years?

Organizations have accumulated vast amounts of data about their products, processes, marketing, logistics etc., over the years and majority of the data is isolated in silos. This is leading to very time consuming and expensive to get valuable insights from the data. Organizations are making huge efforts to consolidate disparate data sources or create seamless connections between them for better information sharing and decision making.

Data Visualization field has been helping organizations to efficiently visualize huge amounts of data to help them make timely business decisions.

Organizations have been investing actively in data visualizations to complement or replace existing systems.

Data Visualization will get even smarter in the next 3 to 5 years with embedded Machine Learning and Deep Learning techniques making insight generation even more valuable for the information consumer. Virtual reality is also going to allow sophisticated interactivity and engagement with the data.

As an expert in Data Science, Business Intelligence, Data Visualization, Big Data and Cloud, you have a well-established background in pharmaceutical/healthcare, market research and retail. Which of those industry sectors stands to commercially gain the most from the implementation of AI in the next 5 years in your opinion, and why?

The Pharmaceutical and Healthcare sectors are in a very strong position to commercially gain significantly from AI in the next 5 years and beyond, for the following key reasons:

There are still diseases such as cancers with currently no cure, and they pose a challenge to modern medicine.

A.I. can help create personalized treatment options for individual patients for example in the area of cancers.

Additionally, if we gather genomic data from cancer patients, A.I. could tell us which cells are mutated, what are the right drugs, what are the best treatment options, and more.

There are some medical procedures such as soft tissue surgery currently performed by doctors could be performed by A.I. enabled robots. Refer to this link for more information: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601378/nimble-fingered-robot-outperforms-the-best-human-surgeons/

Computer Vision technology is able to improve diagnosis and therapeutics using facial expressions, eye tracking and detecting skin conditions.

There are many solutions in progress for patient monitoring that can reduce hospital visits, reduce insurance costs, and improve preventative care.

The global population is expected to reach nine billion by 2050. There are many countries living with poor healthcare standards. This presents a huge opportunity to leverage AI technology to make a difference.

The Artificial Intelligence Group

How do you, as a human, deal with obstacles in your life when they occur?

I have had numerous obstacles throughout my life.

Part of the reason was that I was born and raised in a tiny remote village of just 15 homes in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

My mother is uneducated, and my father only studied until 3rd grade.

I walked to elementary school 1.2km, and to high school 5km every day.

We did not have enough electricity, so I had to read under kerosene lamps at night and under the shade of trees during daytime.

I only touched computers while working toward my master’s degree, and I did not have a cell phone until I moved to Malaysia in 2001.

But nothing pulled me down.

The biggest achievement of my education came in the form of a Gold Medal for securing the highest marks in my bachelor’s degree at Besant Theosophical College in Madanapalle in 1993.

This was the college where Rabindranath Tagore penned the English version of the Indian National Anthem ‘Jana Gana Mana.’

Receiving the Gold Medal was the greatest moment of my career, and it challenged me to move forward to achieve bigger goals.

After earning my master’s, I made a few trips to Hyderabad, Malaysia and finally to the U.S. in 2004.

It has been a great journey coming from such a remote and disconnected village and transforming myself to come to this stage by overcoming various economical, geographical, health, cultural and emotional obstacles.

My strong passion towards achieving my goals has helped me overcome those obstacles.

I deal with obstacles with analysis, courage, a ‘never give up’ attitude – and some patience!

One of your personal and professional goals is to build something new that improves the quality of life and saves people’s lives. What sort of product or service would constitute this?

Based on my background, explained above, I suffered through poor living standards and healthcare early in my life.

As such, I would like to give my services to organizations that work on products or services that improve the quality of life through better health and happiness levels.

The Digital Innovation Team at Bayer in Mountain View is introducing cutting-edge technology in digital health, AI and machine learning areas. Is Bayer open to collaboration with device makers, application developers and service providers, and if so, who should they contact to discuss further?

Yes, Bayer is very open to collaboration with device makers, application developers in the Digital Health space using AI and Machine Learning. In fact we have numerous partnerships already in place. Please visit http://goo.gl/jQkOOg to learn more about Bayer and to connect with our experts.

Finally, Lucky, what is the best piece of life advice that you have ever been given that might always give you an advantage over a computer or a machine?

I am delighted to have interacted with many visionary leaders at Bayer who advised me about technology advancement and its impact on people’s lives.

In my observation, technology can only extend human functions.

We invented telephones when we needed to talk to distant people, we invented cars to take us far; we invented computers to perform complex tasks – and so on.

This kind of innovation only happens when we observe the current situation and apply creativity.

Machines only do what they are programmed to do, but they will not be able to create something new by themselves.

For this reason, I personally disagree with experts like Ray Kurzweil who is predicting that A.I. enabled machines will overtake humans by 2029.

Humans will always have the advantage over machines.

More at www.bayer.us

You can follow Lucky here on: Durtti and LinkedIn.

Lucky is a member of The Artificial Intelligence Group on LinkedIn.