Science and Technology

Artificial Intelligence: India

Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the ability of machines to perform cognitive tasks like thinking, perceiving, learning, problem solving and decision making. Initially conceived as a technology that could mimic human intelligence, AI has evolved in ways that far exceed its original conception.

As AI’s capabilities have dramatically expanded, so have its utility in a growing number of fields.

  • Healthcare:
    • Application of AI in healthcare can help address issues of high barriers to access to healthcare facilities, particularly in rural areas that suffer from poor connectivity and limited supply of healthcare professionals.
    • Personalised treatment, early identification of potential pandemics, and
    • AI driven diagnostics, Imaging diagnostics, among others.
  • Agriculture:
    • Driving a food revolution and meeting the increased demand for food.
    • Potential to address challenges such as inadequate demand prediction, lack of assured irrigation, and overuse / misuse of pesticides and fertilisers.
    • Some use include improvement in crop yield through real time advisory, advanced detection of pest attacks.
    • Prediction of crop prices to inform sowing practices.
  • Education:
    • Solution for quality and access issues observed in the Indian education sector.
    • Augmenting and enhancing the learning experience.
    • Automation and expedition administrative tasks.
    • Predicting the need for student intervention to reduce dropouts or recommend vocational training.
  • Smart Mobility, including Transports and Logistics:
    • Smarter and safer mode of transportation.
    • Improve Traffic and congestion problem esp. in urban cities.
    • Reduce traffic deaths.
    • Optimizing the parking system.
  • Smart Cities:
    • Meet the demands of a rapidly urbanising population.
    • Providing them with enhanced quality of life.
    • Enhanced security through improved crowd management.
  • Apart from this it has applications in different fields like retail, manufacturing, energy etc.

To truly reap the benefits of deploying AI at scale the following barriers need to be addressed in order to achieve the goals of #AIforAll:

  • Lack of broad-based expertise in research and application of AI,
  • Absence of enabling data ecosystems – access to intelligent data,
  • High resource cost and low awareness for adoption of AI,
  • Privacy and security, including a lack of formal regulations around anonymisation of data, and
  • Absence of collaborative approach to adoption and application of AI.

NITI Aayog has decided to focus on five sectors that are envisioned to benefit the most from AI in solving societal needs: Healthcare, Agriculture, Education, Smart Cities and Infrastructure, Smart Mobility and Transportation.

The truly transformative nature of the technology, yet the nascent stage of its adoption worldwide, provides India with an opportunity to define its own brand of AI leadership. #AIforAll – the brand proposed for India implies inclusive technology leadership, where the full potential of AI is realised in pursuance of the country’s unique needs and aspirations. The strategy should strive to leverage AI for economic growth, social development and inclusive growth, and finally as a “Garage” for emerging and developing economies.

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