The first keynote speech was made by Dr Gulshan Rai (National Cyber Security Coordinator, National Security Council Secretariat, Prime Minister's Office) via video conference. Edited excerpts:

Dr Gulshan Rai

Like many of you, I had the privilege to be associated with the banking industry right from 1984 when the ledger posting systems started. I was a very junior officer but used to be a member of the Rangarajan Committee in those days. I have seen the evolution and the application of technology in banks. I have been associated with some of the banks in setting up their computerisation, and I have seen how the banks have gone through the changes.

Now, when I look at how technology in banking has progressed, I find that the entire system of banking has undergone a sea change. How many of us now want to go to the bank today? Even the bankers who are sitting over here, I ask you, how many times you go to the internet banking or to some other form of digital banking rather than going to the cashier? The entire system has changed. Technology has got embedded in banks and the financial sector. We started from the ledger posting machine and moved to the ATMs, debit and credit card and other forms of digital banking transactions......

The second keynote speech was delivered by Prof N Balakrishnan (Super Computer Education & Research Centre, Indian Institute of Science) in the Awards ceremony.

Prof N Balakrishnan

When I look at the topics chosen for discussion in the morning and also the last panel discussion in which I too participated, they look like a list of fields of research in a leading university’s computer science department----Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, chatbots, smart contracts, big data, information, security, data privacy—just to name a few. Many of the banks in India are already using newer technologies; the names of these technologies were not known 5 or 6 years back. I must congratulate all of you for the great strides you have made in the explosively growing technology. The path ahead is fertile for innovation and is full of challenges.

I am sure we will be able to understand the challenges and hurdles once you know the origin and the evolution of this technology. It started in 1671 with a statement by Leibniz a great mathematician and a great scientist: ‘It is unworthy of excellent men to lose hours like slaves in the labour of calculations which could be safely relegated to anyone else if machines are used.’ This started what is now known in computer science as the revenge of silicon. Silicon and Carbon belong to the fourth group of the Periodic Table. God somehow decided to make all of us using Carbon; man decided to make everything using Silicon!

 

 

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