Will AI change how humans operate in telecoms?

A conversation with Azita Arvani, Paul Patras, and Monica Paolini on how AI changes not only how networks work, but also how we (humans) work

Most of the time, we talk about how AI, ML and GenAI change how we run and operate networks, enable automation, tame complexity, and improve efficiency. They also change the way we – the humans in telecoms – operate, the skills we need, and how we deal with AI-based platforms. This will require profound changes on our end, and our ability to meet the cultural and technological challenges will be crucial to benefiting from AI.

In this conversation with Azita Arvani, formerly at Rakuten Symphony NA, and Paul Patras at Net AI and the University of Edinburgh, we did not focus on what AI can do for us but on what we can do to make it successful, how this is going to change all of us working in telecoms—from vendors to service providers, regulators, researchers and, well, analysts too.

Conversation timestamps

  • 0:05 Human role in AI for telecoms, introductions.
  • 5:56 AI in telecoms, data collection, feature engineering, model selection, and cost-performance optimization. Cost-effective AI solutions that balance performance and budget constraints.
  • 11:19 AI model development, cost, and customization for telecom industry. Use cases, data quality, model training, and performance maintenance. Small and large models, accuracy, tradeoffs and fine tuning.
  • 16:35 Using AI to reduce costs in telecommunications, with varying opinions on strategies and potential savings. Energy savings and sustainability, workforce productivity.
  • 21:54 AI’s impact on the telecom industry workforce, reskilling existing employees key for AI initiatives. Retaining domain expertise of employees.
  • 26:42 Bridging AI and telecom expertise gaps. Need of experts with both telco and AI knowledge to collaborate effectively. Attracting young talent.
  • 32:09 Networking is the third pillar of AI, crucial for bringing compute and data together.
  • 36:08 AI investment, infrastructure, and cultural changes in the telecom industry.
  • 41:36 Adopting AI in telecom networks, addressing trust and explainability concerns. Need for a new, more open mindset.
  • 47:28 AI, automation, and their interplay in various industries. Gradual introduction of AI.
  • 52:02 Using AI for network automation, network slicing, security, and testing. Digital twins.
  • 58:09 AI adoption and challenges in the telecom industry. Synthetic data, cybersecurity attacks, misclassification options, AI needed to stay relevant.

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