The journey of building Elysium
What it takes for an MBA student who has a passion for technology to build an AI system.
27th October @ Welingkar Institute of Management, Bangalore
Hi, my name is Yash Parikh. I come from Mumbai. I graduated in 2015. I am a curious learner, I have a passion for technology. I am a student who comes from a diversified academic background of Commerce, Marketing, E-Business, basics of software engineering and now Cognitive. I have 7 months of internship experience in Microsoft India and 2 months at Thomas Cook. I would like to call myself a technology evangelist and enthusiast. I am always curious to know about technology and being updated with it. I love asking various questions to myself when it comes to technology and the best part? I love to find its answers myself as well. How did this app work ?, How is google earth created ?, What happens at the backend of a cognitive computing platform like IBM Watson that is powering the apps etc.
I have spent the last 5 years of my life developing my skills for various domains that I come from. I have won several appreciations from the industry on LinkedIn and from my managers where I interned at recently. I also got published on IIM’s portal (see bio for IIM Portal's link) for my recent work.
Speaking of my recent work, I created an Artificial Intelligent assistant named “Elysium” for my college. It is a chatbot AI that is made for my college “Welingkar Institute of Management", Bangalore. It is running actively on Facebook Messenger. It is in its initial phases of development.
The journey of my creation started 2 months ago when I was in my lecture on Cognitive Computing subject and my professor happened to give us an assignment where we had to build real working applications on either on domains such as Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain etc or at least a presentation if we felt we were not able to take up the given task.
I always wanted to work on this. Domains like AI, IoT, Machine learning are the next billion dollar industry where the world is heading today. It is indeed very important for a technology student like me to be well-versed with these new generation technologies. This happened to be a golden opportunity for me to test my capabilities. I soon started to browse the internet, dig into as much information as possible and gaining exposure to AI, machine learning, IBM Watson, etc.
Once I felt that I knew the basics, I started watching YouTube videos for about 18 - 19 hours on how a chatbot is created and what needs to be done for a student like me who is not much of a coder or an engineer in simple words.
After about 29 hours of constant and simultaneous video watching, browsing the internet and implementing little by little, Elysium was born on September 17th, 2017.
I first created a part of it on IBM’s Watson Conversation platform, but due to some technical limitations, I had to switch to another platform. Once the first phase of the chatbot AI was created, I submitted my bot on Facebook's developer platform so that they could test and approve my bot to work on Facebook messenger for the general public.
At first it got rejected, as there were a few things, that went against Facebook's guidelines, I learnt from my mistakes, geared up myself for an even better version of my work and after a few tweaks and improvements, I resubmitted the bot and to my surprise, Facebook had accepted the chatbot into their ecosystem, ready to be used by the world.
I felt really proud seeing my creation , available for the world. So, then after 2 weeks, at the day of the project submission, when I demoed my work in front of my class, my professor along with my classmates loved the idea and were taken aback watching the chatbot running as planned successfully. My professor was very happy with my work.
However,the story didn't end there, I was so motivated by the response I had received, that I decided to take this even further and make it accessible on other platforms as well.
IIM also published a Press Release on their portal for my work and it has gained me tremendous appreciation from around the country on LinkedIn , Twitter and other internet platforms. My college's dean and other faculties hugely shared this success of mine to more and more people , and were very proud of me and my work since it had gained me and my college the appreciation and respect that we deserved.
To conclude, I , inspite of being a non-engineer and lack of past experience in doing something like this, could still create something that I couldn't have imagined, would go so ahead. This shows and proves that if you have the passion and the commitment to take up the challenge and achieve success , nothing can stop you from being successful. Terms like age , academic background, past experience , language everything is just an illusion that often prevents us from testing our capabilities and limits of what we as humans can do if we are determined to do it.
I would like to thank my parents and my mentors Prof. Sridhar and Prof. Johnson for their constant support and trust on my skills and capabilities.my batch mates and other faculty members for appreciating my work.
Update: Elysium is soon coming to Google Assistant. That means it will soon be on over 500 million devices supporting Google Assistant around the globe