Former Infosys CEO Vishal Sikka told a Silicon Valley conference on Friday that he was working on an artificial intelligence venture, according to a person who attended the event.
“His keynote speech was about opportunity for AI and how it was being drowned out by the noise around the potential destruction of the workforce,” the person who attended the TiE Inflect conference in Silicon Valley told ET. “He said he was working on a venture in artificial intelligence that uses technology to enhance human creativity.”
The venture was in its early stages, he said, adding that Sikka was even introduced as a “lean, mean, fighting machine who was ready to disrupt AI”. It’s been about 10 months since his departure Infosys.
Sikka told the audience that there needed to be more education on artificial intelligence as there were currently fewer than 250,000 people who could use machine learning tools.
The current wave of AI would produce a large number of applications as researchers developed a broader, thoughtful approach, he said. A former chief technology officer at German software giant SAP, Sikka has been increasingly open about his plans in AI.
“As I look at the future, I am personally extremely excited about doing something in that area (AI), something that fundamentally improves the world,” Sikka had told Knowledge@Wharton in February. He didn’t respond to an email sent on Saturday.
Sikka’s focus on artificial intelligence was a key part of his strategy at Infosys. Though the company is working on unwinding his legacy, it’s retaining the artificial intelligence platform Nia that was created under his watch. Infosys said it would integrate Nia withits offerings, including internal systems.
The company’s acquisitions during his tenure — application automation company Panaya and e-commerce company Skava — have been put up for sale Sikka’s plans have been a source of interest for industry watchers. Media reports had suggested that he would take on a chief technology officer role at a large technology company, but he had dismissed them as baseless. ET has reported that Sikka is also an adviser to investment firm Venture Highway.
The team he brought with him — more than 10 highly-paid executives SAP — have also moved to new companies or back to their former employer. Abdul Razack, former head of platforms at Infosys, is now head of technology and architecture at SAP Cloud.
Navin Budhiraja, who headed Infosys’ architecture and technology, is now vice-president and general manager of cloud and technology at Ansys. Gordon Muehl, who was vice president of industrial internet at Infosys, is now global CTO of security and privacy protection at Huawei Technologies.