Aaron Boasman - Patel Aaron Boasman - Patel Vice President, AI & Customer Experience - TM Forum

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Stop with the fear and embrace the opportunity of AI for Ops

  • There has been a lot of scaremongering about how many jobs will be lost due to artificial intelligence (AI) as well as how robots will control the world and man versus machine. This sounds very reminiscent of the Luddite movement of the 19thcentury, but the fear is unfounded now, just as it was then.


    Aaron - Fear of AIThe term Luddite was given to a group of English textile workers who destroyed weaving machinery as a form of protest. Today, the term has come to mean those opposed to industrialization, automation, computerization or new technologies in general. Like the scaremongering of the 19th century when cottage workers thought their jobs would be lost to machines, we now find ourselves in a similar situation when people discuss AI. The fear is caused by the short-sightedness of workers on how they view their future in relation to the role they have now, as opposed to how it will evolve.


    Indeed, the industrialization of cottage industries such as textiles to large-scale enterprises housed in factories created economic growth the planet had never seen before, leading to rapid expansion and globalization. AI offers the same opportunities now as mechanization did in the 19th century.


    In a recent TM Forum survey of 302 senior executives from communications service providers (CSPs) and suppliers for a Trend Analysis report on AI, respondents ranked the impact of AI on displacing staff last on the list of potential challenges.


    The findings were similar in the 2017 Deloitte Cognitive Aware survey which was presented by Tom Davenport, a professor at Badson College and MIT, during a recent CA Technologies webinar (this is well worth a listen). The survey asked a question around the relationship between AI and the workforce in the future: What will be the impact on jobs – loss or shift? The results showed that most people think that workers and AI/cognitive technologies are likely to augment each other to produce new ways of working and that we are likely to see many new jobs created from AI/cognitive technology.


    Steps to take

    So how can CSPs get started with AIOps? Firstly, there has been a lot of debate and discussion about build your own versus buy off the shelf. Very few companies have succeeded at digital transformation by relying on in-house teams to develop the necessary technologies. There is already a massive skills-gap within telcos and they have a problem attracting the very best talent in data science and AI because they are competing with large digital web-scale companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft.


    Davenport rightly states that CSPs need to be more pragmatic and take an approach of buy first and build only where it makes sense. He suggests four steps for embracing AIOps:

    1. Understand the use cases and benefits – start with quick-wins that are easier to complement, e.g. alarm clustering and suppression, predicing capacity needs, etc.
    2. Identify the right data sources to ensure the right balance of data quality and variety.
    3. Start with out-of-the box solutions for immediate impact – don’t waste time hiring/building teams.
    4. Scale IT processes by introducing broader use cases and data, and by customising/building according to unique needs.

    Aaron Boasman - Patel
    About Aaron Boasman - Patel Aaron Boasman - Patel works as Vice President, AI & Customer Experience at TM Forum
    More information : www.tmforum.org