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Guest lecture on Overview of New Age Technologies

As they rightly said, “this pandemic is the opportunity to upskill the individuals.” SIDTM also believes the same, and hence, Mr. Pankaj Mittal, Guest Speaker was invited to interact with the batch about the New age technologies, Blockchain, Artificial intelligence/Machine Learning.

Introduction

Mr. Pankaj Mittal is the Founder & CEO of DigiZen Consulting, a Pune based consulting firm which helps the companies to develop and execute their Digital Strategies. He is also the Co-Founder of Digital Futurists Angels Private Limited. Mr. Mittal has over 22 years of experience in the IT industry across various domains of IT. He is also an Angel Investor and has invested in a handful of companies dealing in B2B services. Mr. Mittal has two international patents registered on his name and he has three more to file. SIUNashik had the privilege of hosting him for a TEDx talk last year. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear from such an eminent personality.

Blockchain: The Concept

We all have heard about bitcoin and are more familiar with the word ‘Bitcoin’ than Cryptocurrency or Blockchain. Bitcoin is just a form of Cryptocurrency, and cryptocurrency is an application of Blockchain terminology. As sir discussed, Cryptocurrency is just one of the applications, and Blockchain is an extensive technology with having a wide range of applications.

Blockchain is a distributed database network that maintains a set of ledgers. Ledger is shared between nodes. At least five nodes are required to make Blockchain work. Once approved by the majority of nodes, the transaction gets approved and published on the Ledger. Once a transaction/record is published on the ledger, it cannot be edited, altered, or deleted. It can only be appended.

Blockchain: The applications

As told by Mr. Mittal earlier, cryptocurrency is one of the applications. The decentralized and deregulated currency that is not centrally controlled or even a particular group can also control it. The secrecy about the nodes is key here. Nodes are not known to each other. Hence, the decision making or approvals are done based on the logic backed to the transaction/activity.

Blockchain will be a boon for tracking the movables. Blockchain is being considered by the banking industry to trace the transaction and movement of money. Only to trace, but to fasten the process. International transfers need three to five days currently. In addition to that, the transaction is done through SWIFT and CBD, whose limitations we all have seen in the PNB scam. The blockchain can do the work seamlessly, faster, and in a more secure manner. The transaction which takes a couple of days to complete can be completed in a couple of minutes.

Blockchain also opens the door for smart contracts, which will cork on the fulfillment of the task. The need to visit legal experts for the remuneration of costs associated with contracts can be removed through smart contracts. A third-party escrow account is made and the remuneration amount is deposited there. Once the contract is fulfilled, the amount is automatically deposited to the account of the party. This not just reduce the load on the legal system, but also the time and effort involved in getting the payment are saved. The smart contracts are used by the European tourist companies to hire the local tourist guides.

Airplane manufacturers using Blockchain to track the parts coming from suppliers. 8 Mn parts are required to construct a whole plane, and, all those parts come from various vendors across the world. To track the parts and vendors, the Blockchain is used. This will help to detect the faulty part and hence the vendor.

Mr. Mittal also discussed three main aspects of Blockchain. Consensus, as no single entity or a handful group, can control the decision making. It needs the majority of stakeholders and the approval is based on logic. Immutability, as the data once recorded cannot be altered or deleted. And the third is Provenance, as the provenance as the records can be used for audit.

Artificial Intelligence

Another futuristic and upcoming technology is AI. AI is a Knowledge-based Decision-Making system. The system capable of converting information to knowledge. The AI engine the one that can use the facts and figures to convert it into knowledge. Say, speech recognition. A translation simply does a word to word translation. But, AI-enabled speech recognition will be capable of understanding the mood of speech, detect if any metaphor is used in the speech. This will be beneficial not just for translation, but also for the futuristic Chatbots who can communicate with humans to assist them and solve their required problems.

AI is, of course, not limited to speech recognition. The AI-backed cameras can help for facial recognition. We were unaware of the fact that the Uttar Pradesh Government used AI-based start-ups in Kumbh Mela to identify the lost persons to connect with their ones. The AI cameras will also be able to detect the motion of persons and their motives. This will help to predict if any terrorist activity is being planned, and can be saved a lot of lives.

The goal of AI is self-computing. It is made to convert the information into knowledge. However, the process is extremely time-consuming. But, once built, can solve an enormous number of problems. The scope of such modern technologies is immense. And it was a pleasure to learn it from the eminent expert.

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