Category: Interview

Interview with Saurish Nandi about AI/Robotics Entering the Maritime Sector


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Image Courtesy: Saurish Nandi

1. Do you think the Maritime and Shipping sectors are ready for AI/Robotics? How can they benefit from implementing AI/Robotics?

The field of AI and Robotics is in a state of evolution and it is very important for the Maritime sector to first understand the basics of this concept before embarking on the implementation. This is the main objective behind the collaboration between Proternio Consulting and DNV GL - to conduct AI courses for the Maritime Sector.
The benefits of AI implementation are to reduce the inefficiencies in the complete value chain which will reduce costs and consequently, increase margins. The implementation of these technologies should be done with a long term objective in mind. 

2.     There are a lot of companies trying to enter the sector, how do we avoid silos and non-integration happening?

It is true that there are lot of companies who say that their solutions are AI powered, but what is lacking is the development of real and verifiable use cases. The absence of these use cases will be detrimental in extracting the benefits of this technology.
In order to avoid silos, it is important that the various stakeholders in the ecosystem meet and share ideas through a common forum. Our #DataccioConnect event series serves this exact purpose. We encourage all the stakeholders to participate on these topics, partake in the discussion and learn from each other.

3.     What do you think will be the short and midterm impact of AI/Robotics on the sector?

The short term impact which is already happening is the development of very accurate forecasting models. This will allow maritime companies to become “predicative" as opposed to traditionally being “reactive”, thus, take very informed decisions well in advance. 
The midterm impact is when various systems interact with each other and can take decisions on their own. Deep Reinforcement Learning will enable machines to learn from various iterations and hence, eliminate the need for any manual interference. 

4.     How do you see AI/Robotics affecting the jobs in the sector and what opportunities could they open up?

I have done a thorough study in this field during my AI course with MIT, Sloan, USA and I usually talk about it in detail during my AI course training. In brief, AI & Robotics are not going to take out jobs immediately. However, all the processes which can be automated will be done by AI in the future. This would allow people with functional expertise to hone their skills further and focus on those aspects.
The jobs of the future will be more evolved. The closest analogy I can think of is when computers replaced the paper system and we all initially thought that everyone will lose their jobs and the world will come to an end. It didn’t happen, in fact, we became more productive and a lot more jobs were generated.

5.     How would you see blockchain or similar platforms working with AI/Robotics for the sector?

With the complexity of Maritime processes and the sheer magnitude of the same, no single technology can be the solution. It is always going to be a combination of few. Blockchain makes a process more robust and tamperproof, while AI enables machines to carry out forecasting and prediction modelling. Hence, there would be a symbiotic kind of existence for both the technologies.

6.     What do you see as the 3 main blockers for the sector in adopting AI/Robotics?

In my view there are no blockers in the sector for adoption of AI. I would rather say, at the risk of being repetitive, that the solution provider needs to develop good used cases for adoption of AI and show tangible benefits for the industry.

7.     Anything else you would like to add about how the sector should  be moving forward into this 4th Industrial Revolution.

Maritime companies need to smoothly ride the wave of Marinetech 4.0. This is a golden era where we wake up to a new development every single day. It is important not to be too intimidated by the plethora of technological advancements but rather use it to streamline processes and optimise the complete value chain.

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