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Ayesha Khanna

Based in Singapore

  • Co-Founder and CEO of ADDO AI
  • Futurist and Artificial Intelligence Expert
  • Philanthropist
  • Chairman of 21C GIRLS, a charity that delivers free coding classes to girls in Singapore
  • Co-Author of Hybrid Reality: Thriving in the Emerging Human-Technology Civilization
  • Served on the Singapore Ministry of Education’s ASPIRE Steering Committee that developed a blueprint for transforming the national higher education system towards innovative industries
  • An education, technology, and urbanization expert
  • Co-Founder of the Hybrid Reality Institute, a research and advisory group established to analyze emerging technologies and their social, economic and political implications
  • Co-Founder and CEO of ADDO AI
  • Futurist and Artificial Intelligence Expert
  • Philanthropist
  • Chairman of 21C GIRLS, a charity that delivers free coding classes to girls in Singapore
  • Co-Author of Hybrid Reality: Thriving in the Emerging Human-Technology Civilization
  • Served on the Singapore Ministry of Education’s ASPIRE Steering Committee that developed a blueprint for transforming the national higher education system towards innovative industries
  • An education, technology, and urbanization expert
  • Co-Founder of the Hybrid Reality Institute, a research and advisory group established to analyze emerging technologies and their social, economic and political implications

Dr. Ayesha KHANNA is Co-Founder and CEO of ADDO AI, an artificial intelligence (AI) solutions firm and incubator. She has been a strategic advisor on artificial intelligence, smart cities and fintech to leading corporations and governments. Ayesha serves on the Board of Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), the Singapore government’s agency that develops and regulates its world-class technology sector to drive the country’s digital economy and power its Smart Nation vision. Ayesha is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Councils, a community of international experts who provide thought leadership on the impact and governance of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence.

In 2017, ADDO AI was featured in Forbes magazine as one of four leading artificial intelligence companies in Asia and Ayesha was named one of South East Asia’s groundbreaking female entrepreneurs by Forbes magazine in 2018. Her clients have included SMRT, Singapore’s largest public transport company; Singtel, Singapore’s largest telco; SOMPO, Japan’s largest insurance firm; Habib Bank, Pakistan’s largest bank; and Smart Dubai, the government agency tasked to transform Dubai into a leading smart city.

In 2014, Ayesha served as a member of the Ministry of Education, Singapore, steering committee resulting in SkillsFuture, Singapore’s innovative national program that aligns education with economic demand, career guidance and lifelong learning to prepare citizens for the fourth industrial revolution. She is Co-Founder of ADDO AI Education, an enterprise training leader that upskills corporate employees and students in data science, data engineering, and applied machine learning with curricula designed by leading academics and experienced industry professionals.

Ayesha is also the Founder of 21C GIRLS, a charity that delivers free coding and artificial intelligence classes to girls in Singapore. Programs that 21C Girls has partnered in include Code in the Community, a program sponsored by Google and that has taught thousands of children (8 – 14yrs) coding, and Empower, which has partnered with Ngee Ann Polytechnic to teach young adults (18 – 24yrs) the basics of artificial intelligence.

Prior to founding ADDO AI, Ayesha spent more than a decade on Wall Street developing large scale trading, risk management and data analytics systems. Ayesha was co-founder of the Hybrid Reality Institute, a research and advisory group established to analyze the social and economic impact of accelerating technologies.

Ayesha was featured in ZDF’s (Germany’s largest TV channel) documentary on twelve “Leading Women” around the world (2019). She has been named one of Singapore’s leading female entrepreneurs and a leading Asian fintech influencer by Fintech Asia, and been recently profiled for her work in artificial intelligence in leading publications including Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Switzerland), Focus Magazin (Germany), Corriere della Sera (Italy), Dagens Næringsliv (Norway), Lëtzebuerger Journal (Luxembourg), Computer Sweden (Sweden), Information Age (Nordics), Peak (Cover Story, Singapore), and In The Black (Cover Story, Australia).

Ayesha is author of Straight Through Processing (2008) and co-author of Hybrid Reality: Thriving in the Emerging Human-Technology Civilization (2012). She has been published and quoted on technology, innovation and smart cities in The New York Times, BusinessWeek, TIME, Newsweek, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, Strategy+Business, and Foreign Policy.  She has presented at major financial, technology and other industry conferences, provided high level government briefings, chaired symposiums such as AI Asia, and spoken at TEDx events.

She is an advisor to the startups Octa (a chatbot for young travellers) and Arro (a delivery robot for sports).

Ayesha has a BA (honors) in Economics from Harvard University, an MS in Operations Research from Columbia University and a PhD in Information Systems and Innovation from the London School of Economics.

Principles to Save Lives and Protect Privacy

The fear of losing privacy through digital intrusion is legitimate, but the dichotomy between saving lives and protecting privacy is false. If data and artificial intelligence are strictly governed with transparent ethical guidelines, citizens could temporarily give private data to governments without fearing long-term mass surveillance.

China and most of its neighbors appear to have the pandemic largely under control, while Europe and the US are suffering excessive casualties and economic contraction. What are the lessons others can take away from the Asian experience of using digital technology to contain the virus?

First, let’s be clear: the fear of losing privacy in the digital age is real. However, emergency measures to save lives need not lead to systematic surveillance if proper governance is in place. Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks and subsequent sporadic attacks across Europe, governments have leveraged technologies such as security cameras and GPS tracking in the name of public safety. Americans are still divided on whether the US government has gone too far in surveillance, and policymakers continue to grapple with their responsibility to the collective and the demands of individual rights.

The Coronavirus presents a new opportunity

The Coronavirus presents a new opportunity to build strong criteria and frameworks for the use of personal data for public safety. Consider this scenario: A contact tracing app flags you as having been exposed to a Covid-19 patient. Due to data sharing across government and business, your employment records are flagged, you face additional questioning at borders, and your healthcare premium rises. While you supported the government’s efforts at contact tracing in the interest of your own and the public’s health, you now find yourself a victim of data abuse. This scenario can only be prevented through better governance.

Some Asian governments have effectively used information technology to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. Taiwan has given government-issued mobile phones to monitor compliance with quarantine, South Korea has extensively used mobile phone location data to reduce contact tracing time from 24 hours to ten minutes, and China has embedded its Health Check app in the nearly universal Wechat and Alipay services to flag and notify those who need quarantine. But what happens to the personal data once the pandemic has ebbed?

The Singapore government’s «Trace Together» app presents an alternative way to collect data that is more transparent to citizens. The app, downloadedon a voluntary basis, uses Bluetooth signals to determine if a person’s mobile device has been in close proximity to someone confirmed to be infected. To be nationally effective, the majority of the population has to download the app. The government has been communicative across all media about both the data collection mechanism and the limits of the app: It does not collect location or any other data from the phone, and all logs remain on the phone itself unless a user has been identified as being at-risk. If a user uninstalls the app, she can request the government to delete her identification data from the servers. Importantly, once the pandemic is over, the app will notify users to deactivate its functionality. Such safeguards point to ways in which emergency monitoring can be achieved without slipping into long term mass surveillance.

The need for ethical and legal framework

The potency of digital measures during the coronavirus has highlighted the need for an ethical and legal framework for data governance. GDPR serves as a strong foundation for data privacy and dignity. Answering these five questions is essential for principled policy-making around data governance in times of crisis.

First, when can private data be accessed? Governments should only be allowed to access personal data during officially declared states of emergency and with the approval of an independent and transparent process such as through a parliamentary vote. When it comes to street cameras and the facial recognition technologies that rely on them, many governments have taken authority but not set limits on themselves.

Second, which types of data can be accessed? Only that data that is at a minimum necessary to identify at-risk locations or individuals such as telcolocation data, but with strict regulatory oversight for a specific period. Beyond this, search engine behavior and social network usage for modeling and forecasting must be aggregated and anonymized, as Google and Facebook are currently suggesting to the US government.

Third, under which circumstances should data sharing be allowed within and outside the government? As the current pandemic response illustrates, ministries of technology, health, transportation, and others may need to share information but should justify it based on specific use cases. If corporate third parties are supporting public efforts, the data should be stripped of personal identifiers. Furthermore, data should never be shared with third parties for purposes such as advertising or other services.

How much public disclosure is required?

Fourth, when can citizens access government-stored data and request deletion? At the outset, citizens should be enabled to view which data the government has stored about them. After a specified period, individuals should have the right to have their data deleted.

Fifth, how much public disclosure is required by the government? Governments should be obligated to frequently communicate their data-related strategies in order to maintain public trust. This is particularly important given the rise of AI for data mining, about which there is little public understanding.

These frameworks are important not only in the current pandemic, but as we encounter new crises and deploy emerging technologies. (For example, under what circumstances, if any, would you condone a tracking chip under your skin?) All countries are now in a phase of experimentation in using technology to address the public health crisis of the pandemic. Unlike 9/11, however, today there is an opportunity to more strongly urge adherence to standards of data governance that balance effectiveness and privacy.

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WINNING WITH AI

HOW INNOVATIVE LEADERS DRIVE GROWTH

Artificial intelligence has been called one of the most significant technologies of our time. But what is the reality behind the hype? With some of the world’s most recognized companies as her clients, Dr. Khanna provides insights on how innovative firms are embracing data and machine learning to leapfrog competitors and win new customers in the process. She also provides recommendations for how your firm can accelerate its AI journey as well as use AI responsibly to engender trust amongst consumers and investors.

 

THE FUTURE OF WORK

HUMAN POTENTIAL IN THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

AI, robotics, additive manufacturing, AR/VR, quantum computing, and gene editing are among the suite of revolutionary technologies that are disrupting every industry in the world. What do they mean for the future of work and jobs? Dr. Khanna takes you on a journey through the main forces that will reshape the corporate world and labor markets, emphasizing how each sector can leverage these breakthroughs to make workers more productive, innovative, and empathetic. This process of human-technology co-evolution Dr. Ayesha Khanna will forever change how we view the global economy and our role in it.

 

SMART CITIES 2.0

PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS AT THE TECHNOLOGICAL FRONTIER

New technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things, and robotics can offer urban businesses and citizens higher quality, more productive, and more sustainable lifestyles. The key shift underway is from centralized, top-down models to an ecosystem approach that is inclusive of corporate and civic stakeholders, especially digital native and data-driven companies. With a Ph.D. in information systems focused on smart cities, Dr. Khanna delivers a comprehensive assessment of case studies and best practices on how to effectively implement and be part of the Smart Cities 2.0 paradigm.

 

TOP TEN TRENDS THAT WILL DISRUPT YOUR INDUSTRY

AI-driven automation, edge computing, industrial and nano-robotics, and human enhancement are just a few of the main trends that will significantly impact all industries in the coming 5-10 years. Using illuminating case studies, Dr. Khanna discusses how these accelerating technologies will both disrupt business models and operations but also open up new opportunities to lift your firm to new heights. With experience advising some of the world’s largest corporations on data-driven digital transformation and innovation, Dr. Khanna highlights the key technologies that you must include in your strategic planning for the decade beyond.

 

MASTERCLASS – DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION 2.0

INNOVATION IN AN ERA OF DISRUPTION

Having advised some of the world’s biggest firms (telcos, banks, logistics, retail, healthcare) on their data-driven digital transformation, Dr. Ayesha Khanna offers actionable guidance on how to deploy AI and other new technologies in your organization. Connecting powerful tech trends to value creation for your business and navigating the cultural change and bold leadership required, Dr. Khanna’s masterclass helps executives catapult forward in their innovation journey.

Books:

Hybrid Reality: Thriving in the Emerging Human-Technology Civilization
Hybrid Reality: Thriving in the Emerging Human-Technology Civilization

U+AI

Straight Through Processing for Financial Services: The Complete Guide (Complete Technology Guides for Financial Services)
Straight Through Processing for Financial Services: The Complete Guide (Complete Technology Guides for Financial Services)

“Dr. Ayesha Khanna’s Keynote presentation was a crowd favorite. Khanna debunked fears about AI technology, pointing to the crucial role AI plays in the profession, improving efficiency, supporting teams and preparing for the future”.

World Congress of Accountants – WCOA 2018

“Listen to this woman!”

Focus Magazin, Germany 2019