• News
  • Columns
  • Interviews
  • BW Communities
  • Events
  • BW TV
  • Subscribe to Print
BW Businessworld

‘We Need AI Policy In Cos, Industries & Countries’: Cisco India Chief

Cisco India & SAARC President Daisy Chittilapilly discusses about the lack of digital trust that could derail India’s digital progress, artificial intelligence’s (AI) evolution and the threat to human jobs, and much more. Read on for excerpts from the interview

Photo Credit :


In an interview with BW Businessworld’s Rohit Chintapali, Cisco India & SAARC President Daisy Chittilapilly discussed about the lack of digital trust that could derail India’s digital progress, artificial intelligence’s (AI) evolution and threat to human jobs, and much more. Read on for excerpts from the interview.

Edited Excerpts:

How important is Digital Trust for India's journey of digital transformation in 2023 and beyond?

It'll make it or break it. All businesses and organisations operate as ecosystems and if there is trust in the ecosystem, India's digitisation is not going to be achieved as it needs collaboration. It calls for multiple organisations coming together to make an outcome happen. Hence, it is a problem to solve at scale. Losing trust within an ecosystem is not a recipe for success. And it will derail, or delay India’s transformation into becoming a digital nation.

Can AI present challenges to India's digital transformation ambitions and the digital trust?

AI will be an enabler for sure but in the wrong hands it can be weaponised. The biggest problem in AI models is that it is nothing but a mime of the human condition and human knowledge. It is learning and doing everything that humankind knows at scale. So, in a world full of disparity, biases and inequality, AI engines will also learn things that are not fantastic and nice. That’s why you need an AI policy in a company, across industries and countries.

Human beings have proven themselves to be resilient through the tech shifts in the past by showcasing tremendous potential for adaption. But in a recent interview, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said that the current, breakneck pace of AI developments could result in definite job losses. Any comments?

Crystal ball-gazing is a very dangerous thing to do in the world of technology. You are right, our previous generations had more time to adjust to technology shifts. The pace at which these engines are catching up and productivity requirements are changing, will mankind have the necessary time to readjust? This is a philosophical debate as well.

Let’s talk about IT spends in 2023. IDC India Chief Vasant Rao recently said that IT spends by companies in India will drop this year. Do you hear the same view in your conversations with industry leaders?

There is a slight dip anticipated but India is still a fantastic growth market. Despite this, if you look at the forecast beyond 2023, the IT spends are expected to go up again.

A financial crisis seems to be looming with multiple bank closures and acquisitions in the US and EU. Usually, financial crises are long and affect the broader world. Do you think India will get affected?

Anytime there is a trouble in financial institutions anywhere in the world, it leads to a very cautionary environment. With the SVB bust, the startup ecosystem banking and banking systems are under pressure. But if it snowballs, startup ecosystem will certainly be pressured further. But broader impact is unlikely. The good news for India – if you go by 2008 and even now – is that our banking system has been fairly resilient. Our economic regulations are such that, in many ways, we are financially insulated from the rest of the world. Right. But does it bring in a cautionary tone to all conversations? Yes. 

Also Read: India Must Focus On Biopharmaceuticals To Feed The Growth Engine: Kiran Mazumdar Shaw