Element AI’s Karthik Ramakrishnan: Connecting to the strategic big picture with AI

By Chantal Hortop

Karthik Ramakrishnan specializes in helping organizations to achieve their AI ambitions. In his presentation at the upcoming GMG-CIM AI in Mining Forum, he will help mining stakeholders to take a broad view of AI, both in terms of the ways it benefits other industries and the ways it could, in turn, benefit the mining industry. He would like those in attendance to “connect more clearly to the strategic big picture with AI, to answer a kind of so what question about AI in mining.”

Given the wide variety of ways in which AI could be applied in a mining operation, Ramakrishnan says that “it’s important to match to industries where there’s a meaningful comparison to the goals at hand,” and highlights sectors ranging from financial services to agriculture in this context. He adds that when drawing these comparisons, not only the algorithmic sophistication is in play, but also “the marrying together of data strategy with business strategy to make the most business value.”

The mining industry has a good foothold already in terms of AI, he says, “[it] is already full of incredibly smart people who’ve been working on applications like autonomous vehicles for many years at this point.” The challenge he sees is “just to avoid missing what’s new.”

The first step for staying abreast of what is happening in AI is “clarifying from the start what information you actually need for your ambitions.” “Get a good grounding in what makes modern AI work so well,” he elaborates, “so you can get good at recognizing a good AI use case from a bad one.”

Those who have already begun implementing AI systems have ongoing considerations and learning to take into account. “If you’re already using some AI technology then the chances are better that you understand some things about what makes AI systems successful … But if this is where you’re at now, just remember that you still have to think about [the elements that facilitate success] when you introduce a new AI application or make a significant change to an existing one.”

Whether they have yet to begin implementation they are much further along the path, Ramakrishnan says “the key is really this question about point of impact: have you taken enough of a step back, and a look ahead, to be confident you’re spending in the right areas?”

While there is work to be done by stakeholders in terms of education and strategic decisions, Ramakrishnan hopes that those attending his presentation will see “why they have plenty of reasons to be excited about AI, not intimidated.”

Karthik Ramakrishnan will be making a presentation entitled “Mining opportunities and strategy at the AI frontier: Lessons from adjacent industries” at the GMG-CIM AI in Mining Forum on May 1.