Qazafi Qayyum, the man who’s been heading up TenX, an AI software and solutions company for the past four years, recently sat down for an interview with The News on Sunday. He talked about how TenX is helping its clients, both in Pakistan and abroad, utilize their data to drive business growth and optimization. He also delved into the disruptive nature of AI and its acceptance in Pakistan.
When asked about TenX and the work they do, Qayyum explained that while many companies talk about AI as a concept, only a few actually demonstrate how it generates real benefits and adds value for their customers. That’s where TenX comes in. They have a team of 25 data scientists working globally with AI leaders and businesses to deliver tangible results.
Qayyum shared examples of their collaborations, including one with Arccos Golf, a US client who disrupted the golf market by developing the world’s first AI caddy. They created models based on the data generated by golfers and implemented it on mobile phones, causing a stir in the industry and gaining recognition from prestigious publications like The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and Forbes.
He also mentioned their work with an American biotech startup, where they were able to reduce the time needed to test food samples for contamination from several days to just a couple of hours. This breakthrough wouldn’t have been possible without AI and TenX’s techniques, which can be scaled globally.
As for expansion plans, Qayyum revealed that TenX has already branched out to several countries, such as the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. They are now eyeing the Middle East market, particularly Saudi Arabia. Their goal is to grow their team in Pakistan and provide opportunities for professionals in the field to make a global difference.
When asked to explain the difference between data analytics and AI, Qayyum stated that data analytics focuses on using the wealth of data available to make informed decisions and improve business outcomes. AI, on the other hand, takes it a step further by informing organizations on whether human factors can be eliminated or augmented in their processes. For example, AI-powered bots are already answering customer calls and engaging with them on WhatsApp without them even knowing.
The interviewer then questioned whether AI will completely replace human factors. Qayyum responded by stating that in the world of AI, any decision that humans can make in three seconds or less is a strong candidate for being replaced by a machine. However, AI cannot mimic human thinking and creativity, so it won’t replace all jobs and take over the world as some people may fear.
Discussing the acceptance of AI in Pakistan, Qayyum emphasized that the awareness of AI as a reality is there, but there is more hype than actual understanding of how to use it to improve businesses. Many potential AI use cases are unproven, and organizations see AI as an investment and an experiment at this point.
Qayyum also highlighted the challenges of working in Pakistan for a firm like TenX. The country is seen as a high-risk location by clients from more mature markets, which raises concerns about geographic factors. He mentioned issues like street protests impacting internet connectivity and the cost of operations due to electricity outages. Additionally, there is a need to improve universities and address brain drain to retain tech talent in the country. Despite these challenges, Qayyum sees great potential in Pakistan and believes that with the right solutions, the industry can achieve huge growth.
When asked about the government sector, Qayyum expressed that the potential for AI in government processes, from project planning to disaster response and management to policy-making, is enormous. AI can improve efficiency, transparency, and plug funds’ pilferage and fraud. Mature governments around the world have already adopted AI in these areas, and Qayyum believes it’s time for the government sector in Pakistan to do the same.