[Burning Issue] Artificial Intelligence

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Why in News?

The NITI Aayog has published an ambitious discussion paper on kick-starting the artificial intelligence (AI) ecosystem in India.

About Artificial Intelligence

  1. AI is a constellation of technologies that enable machines to act with higher levels of intelligence and emulate the human capabilities of sense, comprehend and act. Thus, computer vision and audio processing can actively perceive the world around them by acquiring and processing images, sound and speech.
  2. The natural language processing and inference engines can enable AI systems to analyze and understand the information collected.
  3. An AI system can also take action through technologies such as expert systems and inference engines or undertake actions in the physical world.
  4. These human-like capabilities are augmented by the ability to learn from experience and keep adapting over time.
  5. AI  systems are finding ever-wider application to supplement these capabilities across various sectors.

Potential of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence has the potential to provide huge value to different sectors and can become a key source of competitive advantage for firms.

Healthcare

Helps address the issue of access to healthcare facilities, particularly in rural areas that suffer from poor connectivity and the limited supply of healthcare professionals.

Agriculture

  1. It can address challenges such as inadequate demand prediction, lack of assured irrigation, and overuse/misuse of pesticides and fertilizers.
  2. Improves crop yield through real-time advisory, advanced detection of pest attacks, and prediction of crop prices to informed sowing practices.

Smart Mobility, including Transports and Logistics

  1. Autonomous fleets for ride sharing,
  2. Semi-autonomous features such as driver assist, and
  3. Predictive engine monitoring and maintenance.

Retail

  1. To improve user experience and sale through
    1. personalized suggestions,
    2. preference-based browsing
    3. image-based product search
    4. customer demand anticipation
    5. improved inventory management  
    6. efficient delivery management

Manufacturing

To create a flexible and adaptable technical system to automate processes and machinery to respond to unfamiliar or unexpected situations by making smart decisions.

Energy

Energy system modeling and forecasting to decrease unpredictability and increase efficiency in power balancing and usage.

Smart Cities

Integration of AI in smart cities and infrastructure help meet the demands of a rapidly urbanizing population and provides enhanced quality of life.

Education and Skilling

  1. Improving the learning experience through personalized learning,
  2. automating and expediting administrative tasks, and
  3. predicting the need for student intervention to reduce dropouts or recommend vocational training.

Global Developments in AI

Different countries have identified different focus areas for AI development and deployment

Japan

  1. Areas of interest include industrial productivity improvement, healthcare, medical care and welfare, mobility and information security.
  2. Japan is focusing on moving from the “Industry 4.0” paradigm to “Society 5.0” through the development of AI for delivering public services

France

  1. Areas of interest include healthcare, environment, transport, mobility, defence-security. The government is planning to support AI startups through data availability, public spending and talent reskilling.

USA

Areas of interest include economic prosperity, educational opportunities, quality of life, national and homeland security.

China

  1. Areas of interest include education, healthcare, energy, transport, quality of life, city planning /IoT / robotics.
  2. China is focusing on developing and using AI for delivery of public services through financial support, developing talent pipeline, and leveraging international cooperation.

Artificial Intelligence in India

A national AI strategy needs to be created on a framework based on India’s unique needs and aspirations, while at the same time capable of achieving the country’s full potential of leveraging AI developments.  

Impact of AI in India

  1. It will improve the quality of life and access of choice to a large section of the country.
  2. Increased access to quality health facilities (including addressing the locational access barriers)
  3. Inclusive financial growth for large sections of the population who have been excluded from formal financial products.
  4. Providing real-time advisory to farmers and help address unforeseen factors to increase productivity,
  5. Building smart and efficient cities and infrastructure to meet the demands of the rapidly urbanizing population

Key challenges in adoption of AI in India

  1. Lack of enabling data ecosystems.
  2. Low intensity of AI research
           i. Core research in fundamental technologies
           ii. Transforming core research into market applications.
  3. Inadequate availability of AI expertise, manpower and skilling opportunities
  4. High resource cost and low awareness for adopting AI in business processes
  5. Unclear privacy, security and ethical regulations
  6. Unattractive Intellectual Property regime to incentivize research and adoption of AI

Way forward

The way forward is to factor in current strengths and weaknesses in AI and initiate large-scale transformational interventions, primarily led by the government, with the private sector providing able support.

Practice Questions

  1. Evaluate the benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) across different sectors.
  2. Compare and contrast on the development of AI among different countries. How is India faring in the development of AI?
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