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EPAM’s Elaina Shekhter Envisions a Future with Human-AI Agents

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Analytics India Magazine – by Anshul Vipat

EPAM’s Elaina Shekhter Envisions a Future with Human-AI Agents

The power of generative AI (GenAI) is already reshaping our work environments and daily lives, marking a significant turning point. GenAI is propelling us towards a future of truly enterprise-wide AI, a realm that was once the domain of specialized functions only, as articulated by EPAM chief marketing and strategy officer Elaina Shekhter.

At AIM’s Data Engineering Summit (DES) 2024, Shekhter emphasized the role of GenAI in shaping our future. “GenAI, as a transformative agent, is not just a glimpse into the future, but a tool that helps us shape it. With its capabilities advancing rapidly, we can expect to see new tools emerging frequently.

“It took us about 40,000 years to get to the point of fire and cook our food. It took us several 1,000s of years to build basic technology. And it’s taken us about 1,000 years to get from basic agricultural societies to the steam locomotive. This tells us that no matter what, change is inevitable,” she said.

“It’s changing very quickly. This calls for adaptiveness. Now, whether it’s a disruption or an opportunity is difficult to predict?” she added.

Wave Of Change

Shekhter envisions the future of GenAI in three waves. The first wave, which we are currently in, is about humans with copilots. It’s not transformative yet, but it will be in the second wave as humans with agents. In this stage, the discerning eye will be able to tell whether they are interacting with a human or an AI, underscoring the continued significance of human involvement.

Wave three will be a very subtle but pivotal flip, where it isn’t going to be humans with agents; it will be agents with humans. In this stage, humans would assist agents with their tasks. This wave may occur in specialized domains like customer service in the next few years. Broader impacts on work and society will take longer.

One Step At A Time

Shekhter, however, had a word of caution: “Generative AI will likely become more integrated into our lives, with agents helping or replacing humans in many tasks. This could lead to major productivity gains but also disruption.”

People expect organizations to continue to be human-centric. There’s an element of this responsible AI mandate that lands directly on the desk of the engineer. We must develop software with the notion of security and responsible use of AI in mind, and we are also indebted to the organization of enterprises to establish responsibility so that we bring people along.

Shekhter reassured the audience that GenAI is not about replacing humans but about enhancing and augmenting human intelligence and decision-making. “This technology is designed to make us better at what we already do, not to replace us,” she said.

Shekhter further underscored the importance of responsible AI use. She emphasised, “AI must be used responsibly and only for the benefit of humanity. It’s crucial that we don’t let technology control us, but rather, we control the technology.”

Responsible AI By Design

Businesses can already safely and responsibly integrate GenAI tools into their workflows. But as GenAI further permeates enterprise technology stacks, it will expand beyond simply automating single tasks.

“Future advances in natural language processing, computer vision, robotics and other AI subfields will further accelerate GenAI’s impacts across many industries and applications.

“AI is transformative. It is scary. It has the potential to take over. It does. And anyone who doesn’t believe that there’s a real threat, as well as a real opportunity, isn’t paying attention,” she concluded.

Original article here.

Curious about the opportunities GenAI offers but unsure where to begin? EPAM is uniquely equipped to guide you through this wave of disruption and help you maximize the benefits.