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Costa Rica needs deep technological talent. With AI, you can close that gap: Feuji CEO Manohar Reddy

Manohar Reddy, CEO of Feuji, in a conversation with El Financiero Costa Rica, discusses the growth opportunities that Artificial Intelligence (AI) brings to the country.

San José, Costa Rica - May 29, 2024


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is beginning to appear as a necessity for companies, optimizing processes and accelerating various areas of business development.


According to projections by the World Economic Forum, automation will generate 97 million job opportunities globally by 2025. However, few sectors remain conservative in the face of this technological disruption, fearing it may lead to payroll reduction.


Manohar Reddy, CEO and Founder of Feuji, a global technology services company, discusses with El Financiero the benefits of AI adoption, how Costa Rica can capitalize on it, and the apprehensions surrounding this technology.


Which industries are experiencing the most dynamic growth in AI?

AI is set to play an important role in sectors such as healthcare, banking, financial services, and insurance.

Think about healthcare and banking – they deal with large client bases and handle huge volumes of data. Tasks like patient care, diagnosis, reporting, and data assessment rely on human intelligence. Such tasks can be more accurately and reliably handled through artificial intelligence and machine learning, reducing dependency on human error.


Can a country develop the semiconductor industry without being immersed in AI?

The new focus on the semiconductor industry in Costa Rica will naturally complement AI and vice versa. As the industry takes root, so will the development of AI. Despite its size, this will present a significant opportunity for Costa Rica to hold a notable position in this space.

We often hear about innovations from tech players like Google, Amazon, and Meta. Nvidia is now emerging as a major player in AI, bringing in a lot of innovation and growth.


What level of development does Costa Rica have in the field of AI?

We are all still in the initial stages. Less than 10% of large companies in Costa Rica are actively implementing AI, while the rest are either experimenting or exploring its potential.


People in Costa Rica have a strong understanding of business domains, particularly experienced in financial and analytical areas such as anti-money laundering. As AI progresses, there will be more opportunities to leverage talent within business operations. Costa Rica needs deep technological talent. Due to its small size, with AI, you can close that gap.


AI is a great equalizer. It can elevate countries like Costa Rica, making them stand out globally.


Which applications of AI will have the greatest impact on most of humanity?

During my visit to Israel last year, I observed that AI enables the capture of human emotions and then presents them on a screen. If AI can recognize human emotions, there is so much that can be done in terms of managing emotions positively. I have seen a few instances where someone is thinking about football, and their thoughts are translated into images on the screen through sensors. This reflects a person’s mental activity. That’s something I am curious about because while the rest of automation and acceleration will happen anyway, AI's ability to read, understand, and track human emotions can revolutionize how we live.


What are the main challenges that organizations face with AI?

Things are changing rapidly, and the landscape of AI is ever-evolving. It's so dynamic that what's significant today may diminish its importance tomorrow. Companies are apprehensive about investing large amounts of money without assurance that it will bring substantial results. This is a challenge. Many companies need clarification and fear about the potential impact of AI.


I believe that AI is an extension of automation. It extends the capabilities of automation, optimizing tasks and streamlining processes.


AI is going to optimize work. What job opportunities does AI generate, both for educated and uneducated people?

Costa Rica should not worry when a new technology emerges. AI will enable Costa Rica to advance in terms of utilizing these tools to excel among technology leaders. There will be some jobs that previously required three or four people but can now be accomplished by one person. However, there will also be opportunities for new roles and requirements that can be outsourced from other countries. Costa Rica's strategic location in the same time zone as the United States positions it favorably regarding the labor market and job availability.


What is the right way to empower human capital to take advantage of the opportunities AI presents?

Costa Rica has been heavily investing in education in recent decades and needs to quickly adapt to what is now known as prompt engineering. If we can encourage students to embrace these technologies from an early stage, it will go very far.


AI presents a great opportunity for Costa Rica because many large companies in the United States use Costa Rica as a back office for tasks such as financial analysis and predictive analytics, utilizing local teams for these operations.


Costa Ricans are very passionate and creative people. Although anyone can use AI, Costa Rica is well-equipped and possesses all the necessary elements to accelerate leveraging AI opportunities compared to other countries.


Will Feuji expand operations and provide job opportunities to more people in this field?

We are going to expand our cybersecurity and engineering operations. Additionally, we plan to establish a center of excellence for AI. We plan to collaborate closely with final-year students from local universities to provide them with training and contract opportunities.


When are you planning this?

There are numerous opportunities to build engineering, cybersecurity, programming, and automation teams. We will visit universities this year to scout for fresh talent. We plan to train them for three to six months and then place them on projects as interns or junior programmers, making them the core team over the next two to three years.

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