Artificial Intelligence for All: Talking Technology

Source: NITI Aayog

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to become the backbone for the Indian policy-making circle. With intelligent machines enabling high-level cognitive processes like thinking, perceiving, learning, problem-solving and decision making, coupled with advances in data collection and aggregation, analytics and computer processing power. Its advocates claim that AI presents opportunities to complement and supplement human intelligence and enrich the way people live and work.

Recently, NITI Aayog unveiled a discussion paper on Artificial Intelligence titled National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence #AIforAll. Amitabh Kant CEO, NITI Aayog wrote the paper’s introduction. As Kant stated in the introduction, the approach in this paper focuses on how India can leverage the transformative technologies to ensure social and inclusive growth in line with the development philosophy of the government. In addition, India should strive to replicate these solutions in other similarly placed developing countries.

According to the introduction, #AIforAll will aim at enhancing and empowering human capabilities to address the challenges of access, affordability, shortage, and inconsistency of skilled expertise; effective implementation of AI initiatives to evolve scalable solutions for emerging economies; and endeavors to tackle some of the global challenges from AI’s perspective, be it application, research, development, technology, or responsible AI.

It further added that #AIforAll will focus on harnessing collaborations and partnerships, and aspires to ensure prosperity for all. Thus, #AIforAll means technology leadership in AI for achieving the greater good.

In this backdrop, NITI Aayog has decided to focus on five sectors that are envisioned to benefit the most from AI in solving societal needs:

a) Healthcare: increased access and affordability of quality healthcare
b) Agriculture: enhanced farmers’ income, increased farm productivity, and reduction of wastage
c) Education: improved access and quality of education
d) Smart Cities and Infrastructure: efficient and connectivity for the burgeoning urban population, and
e) Smart Mobility and Transportation: smarter and safer modes of transportation and better traffic and congestion problems.
Source: National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence #AIforAll, NITI Aayog

Source: NITI Aayog

It is worthwhile to mention that the NITI Aayog under the leadership of Amitabh Kant is spearheading frontier technology policy and Proof of Concepts (PoCs) in AI and allied segments. In this backdrop, Impact News is shedding light on a couple of collaborative activities which were updated by the NITI Aayog on its Twitter Handle.

  • NITI Aayog signed Statement of Intent (SoI) with Government of Telangana to collaborate on frontier technology policy & Proof of Concepts (PoCs) in AI, Blockchain, and FinTech on 3, July 2018.
  • NITI Aayog signed Statement of Intent with AI solutions provider Poletus. SoI was signed by NITI Aayog and Poletus on June 15, 2018.
  • NITI Aayog and ABB India partnered to make India AI-Ready. Both parties signed a Statement of Intent (SoI) to support the Indian government to realize its ambitious vision of “Make in India” through advanced manufacturing technologies that incorporate the latest developments in robotics and artificial intelligence.
  • NITI Aayog and Google India collaborated on AI/ML training, hackathons, mentoring & incubating startups & providing research grants. The Statement of Intent (SoI) was signed by both parties on May 8, 2018.
  • NITI signed Statement of Intent(SoI) with IBM India to develop an AI model for precision agriculture, to deliver real-time advisory to farmers in Aspirational Districts to improve crop yields and their income on May 4, 2018

The top leadership of NITI thinks that AI, blockchain and other emerging technologies will improve the quality of life, enhance human development index & help India emerge as a global leader in the fourth industrial revolution. Inspired by such conviction, NITI Ayog collaborated with Centre for Policy Research and India International Centre to organise a comprehensive talk on emerging technologies will improve the quality of life which is known as Metamorphoses18. The talk series intends to bridge the gap between technological advancement and human understanding of technology. It will unfold in a series of nine interactions covering different aspects of the digital revolution according to the information given on its official website.

Bringing in the Precision Agriculture across Aspirational Districts in India, Weather Company, an arm of IBM India developed a preview of the interface developed which is giving real-time data & information regarding crucial inputs for agriculture through an interactive dashboard. This information was shared by the NITI Aayog.

It evident that NITI Aayog thinks that new technologies like Robotics, IoT, #AI and frontier technologies will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of jobs in India. The Aayog organised its first consultations on National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence which was chaired by a wide range of stakeholders.

India embarks on a journey to lead the emerging world in AI research & application as underlined by the NITI Aayog. #AIforAll will enhance human capabilities to address challenges of access, affordability, shortage & inconsistency of skilled expertise. But its full potential is yet to be realised. Implementation of new technologies in a particular the company is very easy where one has a structured organisational setup. The Agnipariksha of #AIforAll will start when the government will roll out the above-mentioned technologies for the people.

The government has already identified five sectors such as Healthcare, Agriculture, Education, Smart Cities and Infrastructure and Smart Mobility and Transportation. It will be very interesting to see how such new technologies are going to tackle the crumbled state capacities in various states! In many states, erratic power supply, low-speed internet are the cause of concern. It is interesting to note that the discussion paper of NITI Aayog repeatedly quoted the consultancy firms like Accenture and PwC for reference on the AI and other frontier technologies. It speaks volumes.

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