Mongol Mind is a great thing. Mongolians are getting known for their capacity and are being recognized by the leading companies in the world.
Last month during the ICT Expo 2015 TEDxUlaanbaatarSalon organized series of talks featuring Ch.Battugs who worked in Microsoft and Salesfore.com, N.Nandinbold who works at Samsung Electronics and B.Gabit who have had his start up company Infinite Solutions in Silicon Valley.
Among them the interesting speech was given by N.Baasandorj on BIG DATA, who works in IBM.
According to him there are many solutions to the problems that humans face currently using the analysis of the data that is being generated today.
The closest example could be curing of a disease or an illness based on computer analysis that human cannot process by himself, but is able to do with the help of the technology. Moreover, simple solutions can be provided at bettering the traffic jam and air polution issues in Ulaanbaatar.
You left Mongolian back in 2010 and are back only after few years. Probably many things have changed. What are the good and bad changes according to you?
- I'm doing a very short visit. I cannot really define what is good and bad in the development that is happening here. There are many new buildings and the traffic has increased.
But the intersections have improved a lot and there is not much traffic at intersections. It can be felt that younger generation is developing.
How did you joined IBM?
- In 2013 another Mongolian working in IBM have approached me and suggested me to apply there. He said that they needed system admin and this close to me as I had the experience in the information security and was also looking for a job.
I passed interviews with human resources and three technical level interviews and after joined the company in July of 2013.
How the interview went at IBM?
- I have had plenty of interview experience with small and big companies by that time. Also I already had two job offers.
I had human resources trainings experience as well and plus the 15 years of work experience with Mobicom.
What other technology companies have you applied to aside from IBM?
- To name a big one is AT&T. But I have been applying to even the Microcenter shop for a sales assistant. It was my first time when I have understood that I was overqualifying for that kind of job.
They did not need software engineer, IT auditor and informaiton security specialist as a sales assistant. That was a huge mistake.
Probably I have lost many chances with those kinds of mistakes and I couldn't even get the sales assistant job. Since that time I have been looking for how to write resume. That gave me the skills what to put on my resume in order to adhere to employers requirements.
You have started your career with Mobicom?
- I joined Mobicom in June of 1999. My first job was the Mobicom website. Soon after the first internet division was formed with only two people.
After we have established the Information Automatization Department to enhance the internal capacities of Mobicom and I was working there as a manager.
You said that with you were working in Internet Division just in time when internet was just introduced in Mongolia?
- In 1996 DATACOM was established and they were the first internet providers in Mongolia. At that time websites were wrtitten on Notepad using HTML, Perl codes. Soon enought we had Homepage and Dreamweaver.
To think of it now, may be the working on Notepad to develop a website helped me to understand it. Nowadays the codes are written on Microsoft Word.
Was there enough human resources availble at that time?
- If I am correct Mongolian Universities started offering programs since 1990 in this field and by 1995 and 1996 number of graduates have increased in IT.
Most of the graduates at that time needed additional training and coaching.
How come you have ended up in USA? You had nice work in Mobicom and you are to be considered as one of the pioneers of IT sector in Mongolia?
- My spouse won Green Card and we decided to move to the States. It was a big risk for me to leave my career in Mongolia and head towards the Land of Freedom.
What were you doing at first after arrival in the States?
- At first I continued working for Mobicom on as part-time during the night hours as Infromation Security specialist. I also attended ESL cources for 8 months and started the Master's Degree, but dropped out and started doing other job.
I have been doing many things aside my ESL classes: dishwasher, delivery and so on.
How did it feel to land there on washing the dishes from the IT specialist here?
- It didn't feel good. Due to lack of language skills I had to do part time jobs. It required time for me to find good job there.
I was doing mistakes simply on writing my resume and CV. But I managed to learn from my mistakes and join the IBM.
IT sector is developing rapidly and many are studying and pursueing careers as well. What will be your advice for them?
- One can be able to study anything and anywhere. The most important thing is the attitude. One should love what he or she is doing. Your job must become your hobby and with right attitude one can succeed.
It is not necessary to study abroad at those well known universities. One can graduate from university here in Mongolia, but the success is evident with right attitude and hard work only. This is what one should understand.
Just to think of it, there was no other search engine other than Yahoo. No one ever thought of a possibility that another search engine will be introduced. But then we have seen how two guys came up with Google.
Today when we turn to internet to search for something we go to Google. This is the biggest example of what opportunities lie out there for everyone. Innovation can be done in any sector. One needs to be persistent and work hard towards their aspirations. At the end we might be witnessing another Google created by Mongolians.
Have your job become your hobby?
- Indeed. From the very first class in university I was in love with my profession. I could spend long hours at computer laboratory at school. By the way, we used IBM computers at that time.
We were wondering what company is IBM and guessing it should be a huge company. I even had a thought if I had a chance to work at IBM when I was a student. During my time at Mobicom when we were establishing the Automatization Department one interesting thing happened.
I was assigned to develop the internal website for the company. But many will agree that programmers aren't always great at designing. At that time I looked on IBM website and developed my design.
It seems like you have started your whole career with something related with IBM?
- Yes it did. But it is not just the coincidence. IBM itself a huge company with history of more than 100 years and is leading in the technology sector worldwide.
The company has created many things for the humanity. For instance, computers, cash registers, bar codes, hard disks, floppy disks, the things that led to the advancement of the current technology.
Have you been thinking becoming an expert in technology from the early years?
- I finished secondary school in 1990 in Tuv aimag and i majored in math. Most of my father's friends were computer teachers. They would come often tell interesting things and advised I should study computer technology and software.
And here I am today. In 1994 I graduated Mongolian University of Education with major in Mathematics and Informatics Teacher and Programmer. While working at Mobicom I have gone trainings in USA, Japan, Korea and Singapore.
At TEDxUlaanbaatarSalon you have touched issues of BIG DATA?
- First of all BIG DATA means a lot of data. The important thing here is not the creation of that huge data, it is about using, organizing and analyzing it in the way it is beneficial fo the businesses or the development and having economic impact.
In the recent years information is increasing with the speed of a light. My main point was if we are wasting all that without proper utilization. We need to analyze it and use for our development.
How we can utilize BIG DATA in our country in which sectors specifically?
- Latest trend is the Smart City concept. We can use BIG DATA in reducing the traffic, air and water pollution.
It can be used in medicine to find cure against cancer as well. It can be applied anywhere. Even in ads as the social media such as Facebook and Twitter have become very close.
Targeted ad is developing rapidly. Suppose you searched for an item with Google and next time you open your Facebook information on stores selling the item would appear in your news feed.
What is required in order to use the BIG DATA?
- Do we have the storage for that data, do we have technology to process all that data? We need to answer these questions first and then think about how much we have advanced in analyzing the data.
But we can utilize technology and approach which have already penetrated by the big companies. Still we need to think of the storage first.
Let's get back to IBM. In 1997 Deep Blue won Kasparov and in 2001 Watson answered all the questions at the Jeopardy. This defines IBM as the leader in the cognitive computing. More on that?
- Generally speaking it has been 30-40 years since the development of the artificial intelligence. This has become the basis for the current Cognitive computing.
Experts are also recognizing it is the next stage in the computing. Watson can collect and analyze huge amount of data that any one human can ever do. But it needs time for Watson to get more advanced. My stance is although we name it artificial intelligence, computers can never operate like human brain.
There is no need to be scared if the AI will be the end of the humanity, computers are not alive like animals or humans.
But Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking are all talking about it. Could Watson in 50 or 60 years become an AI?
- I personally think that it is impossible to create something that thinks like a human. First of all, human brain is unique like the finger prints, it is unique with every cell.
Secondly, eberything moving on earth has its soul. Computers don't have soul, that is why it is impossible create intelligence artificially.
Watson does what human can't. Can't he think like a human?
- Watson does what human is incapable of, but according to the algorithms written by a human. It can collect and analyze huga data, but it doesn't mean it can think.
Can IBM create AI?
- I am a programmer. I have been working in this field for the last 20 years. I don't believe AI can be created. Human brain has endless possibilities, but we can never get into its depths, we are far from its horizons. But still IBM is ahead of every other.
Today we all have smart phones. Many say that with the advancement of the technology human is becoming dumber and the devices smarter?
- Again I think that word SMART has been brought into technology field with altered meaning. Smart here means optimized for the ease of the use. It helps us to save time and do number of difficult tasks with ease. But it does not mean that the device is smart by itself. This is technology that helps us to use things that were time consuming and complicated without those devices.
Of course, there are negative sides to it. For instance, how many people now can to simple math in their mind. It is easier to get your phone, touch some buttons and here you go, you have an answer.
The development of the cognitive computing is more closer to what we define as smart. For example, the thermostat Nest that Google has acquired. This device controls the home climate in accordance with the user preferences by analyzing user's behavour.
It regulates the heat depending on whether the home owner is at home or not and in accordance with the weather outside. This is defined as smart.
It seems like the world is shrinking with the advancement of the informaiton technology?
- This is relevant to the network. 100 years ago human established the possibilities to connect through wires. After that human created internet, which kicked the rapid technological advancement.
This is not about the size. It is matter of time and many say that world has become flat. We know of the things happened several thousand miles away.
It is interesting to hear your view about god and religion, because you have worked in informaiton technology for so many years?
- You can say I don't believe in religion. But I worship the nature. It is more of a positive thinking and right attitude.
What is your favourite movie?
- When I was younger I was more into action movies. While now I am more into documentaries about nature, animals and science. Last movie I saw was a documentary on how a monkey is igniting a fire, was very interesting movie by the way.
Can that monkey evolve into human?
- Some believe that human was evolved from monkey, while others believe that god created humans. But yet nothing is proven.
To which side do you belong?
- I personally think that humanity derived from the totally different civilization. For instance, Mongolians have very rich traditions and culture. Every tradition has very deep meaning.
Another example, we extend our ancestry to 9 generations and Mongolians do not marry within the 9 generations. How could our ancestors know about those kinds of things? It is very interesting. If we see from the genetics side let's count from our parents' generation.
First generation of their kids will inherit 50 percent from mother and 50 percent from father. Next generation will inherit 25 percent and going down the 9th generation the probability shrinks to 0,1953125 percent shortening the relevance to minimum. Meaning the person is no longer belongs to the genetic.
Do you believe in aliens?
- I believe in their existence. May be we cannot detect them because of our technological boudaries. Moreover our senses have limited abilites.
This can be explained by the sounds humans cannot hear while other animals can hear. It would be senseless to say that there is no whale in the ocean while you can scoop the water from that same ocean.
Thank you for your time during your short and busy visit.
- Thank you.
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