It’s not every day you find leading tech industry influencers with a combined experience of over 40 years in one (virtual) room.
But when you do, there is a discussion to be had on emerging technologies, methods of innovation, and the unique challenges that are looming over the industry.
Our Director of Marketing APAC, Aadil Bandukwala, caught up with Anand Rajagopalan, the Managing Director of JPMorgan Chase & Co; Srividhya Gopalan, the Senior Director of Engineering at Mulesoft; and Harishankaran K, Co-Founder & CTO at HackerRank to have this discussion.
Watch the full video below or continue reading for key takeaways from the discussion.
Innovation in the new age will face unforeseen challenges
The record-breaking speed at which the first vaccine for Covid-19 was developed is an example of how the pace of innovation is only getting faster.
“Fail-fast is still the mantra that rules”, Srividhya says, “and as innovation and implementation cycles start overlapping, I think that we will overclock the speed limit of innovation in a healthy way.”
Hari adds, “Emerging technologies are making it easy to ideate and build in a very small amount of time.”
Anand addresses the question of how companies make innovation a part of their DNA. He says, “Some companies have idea labs, some organize internal hackathons.”
With innovation at the helm, companies need to constantly create organic pathways to instill confidence in their employees and encourage them to generate ideas. However, in the context of the remote work world, innovation has taken a little bit of a beating despite the trend of people putting in extra work hours while working remotely. “Digital exhaustion is a pertinent problem nowadays. Without physical interactions taking place, there is seemingly a disconnect. These factors are definitely impeding innovation in companies across the globe,” says Anand.
Hari reflects the sentiment. “We certainly miss the water cooler discussions in the office that evolved into quick brainstorming sessions. Those kinds of dialogues just don’t take place any more.” He quickly follows it up with the ways in which remote working has been a blessing. “As unfortunate as this is, remote work has definitely given us successes. For one, we saw the highest number of women applying for our internships this year.”
Quantum computing will reach the average joe
While quantum computing has the potential to solve massive computational problems, it has remained out of reach to the average user’s hands until now.
For example, Amazon launched Amazon Braket, a service that brings quantum computing to researchers and developers; and Google launched TensorFlow Quantum (TFQ), a library for rapid prototyping of hybrid quantum-classical ML models.
“Quantum computing is reaching remarkable heights,” Anand says. “Google’s Sycamore processor was able to perform a calculation that the world’s most powerful supercomputer would’ve taken millennia to solve, in a mere 200 seconds.”
Speaking about its applications, Anand believes that the finance and security industries are places where quantum computing will be heavily used. “An example of its potential application is in portfolio analysis, which consists of many tedious calculations,” he says.
On the flip side, there’s the threat of hackers using quantum computing to charge through the cryptography that we use to secure our digital data today.
“Image processing is an area that quantum computing will transform,” Srividhya adds. “There are usually large amounts of data involved here, so things like facial recognition and remote sensing will improve drastically.”
Blockchain will diversify into fields other than finance
Having worked with blockchain technology before, Srividhya goes over the basics. “There are three pillars of blockchains,” she says. “Decentralization, transparency, and immutability.”
“One application beyond the finance world for blockchain could be supply chain management,” Anand adds. “The inventory going from manufacturer to distributor to retailer is something blockchain technology could transform into a single pane of glass view. That'll make the chain much more efficient because you can predict the availability of the raw materials, where there’s wastage of resources, etc.”
JPMorgan has been at the forefront of accelerating blockchain technology, being the first global bank to create a scalable peer-to-peer blockchain-based network called Liink.
“At JPMorgan, the potential of blockchain has been recognized. Onyx is a business unit that was launched to focus on it.” Anand adds. “One of the biggest challenges that the adoption of the technology today faces is that there are several moving parts that aren’t mature yet.”