- What is Artificial Intelligence and how it can change our life?
- India’s current status with respect to AI
- National Strategy for artificial intelligence (a discussion paper by NITI Aayog)
- In what direction India is moving and how far it has to go?
- How is the entire AI ecosystem in India?
- Is the risk v/s opportunity assessment has been done carefully?
[RSTV The Big Picture] Humans and Artificial Intelligence
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The Artificial Intelligence (AI) has penetrated several aspects of our life in past few years. The government on its part has been vocal about its intention to mainstream artificial intelligence applications. Several Ministries along with NITI Aayog have come up with various recommendations to enhance the use of artificial intelligence.
What is Artificial Intelligence and how it can change our life?
- In the simplest word, it can be described as the computer trying to mimic the human behavior or human mind’s cognitive functions.
- The AI can be used in automobile sector where self -driving cars are possible, it can be used in autonomous weapons, the weaponized drones used by US.
- In medical sector, for example in IBM Whatson where the machines are training themselves with 40—50 years of cancer research and trying to complement with a doctor by prescribing the right research and right dose of medicines.
India’s current status with respect to AI
- India is in the very beginning of this AI journey in comparison to other countries like China.
- Majority of the Indian companies which are trying to sell the AI product are technically digitizing data and doing some data analytics which is not AI.
- There are certain startups which has done wonderful work especially in the field of facial recognition, predictive intelligence.
- For last 30 years India did not have structural data lying here and there and one of the most crucial element of AI product is the quality of data and the quantum of data on which a product is strained.
- India is a trove of data such as in health sector which is lying dump somewhere. Now the government is trying to put the data online in front of the public.
- The defence sector is also opening up and forces are trying to provide the data such as radar data, flying data to the startups so they could innovate upon that and that is where opportunity lies in India.
National Strategy for artificial intelligence (a discussion paper by NITI Aayog)
- The Aayog brought a three tier framework.
- The first tier is the economic opportunity for AI induce solutions is huge. It’s about of trillion dollars.
- Second tier thinks about the steps to utilize the opportunity. It has to be social and inclusive usage of artificial intelligence.
- The third pillar stands on the fact that India can be used as the garage of data for the world having huge unused data.
The recommendations are:
- India wants to have capabilities for research both fundamental (core and applied) research.
- The second aspect is to find out the way to increase the market adoption through various data was being mentioned like a data marketplace.
- The third aspect to skill and reskilling India’s generation.
- The fourth recommendation is the combination of focusing on factors like ethics privacy and security etc. and also building countries and entities that have common problems across this through an ambitious program called AI for Alliance. It has been adopted as the India’s National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence.
- NITI Aayog is in the middle of a program to bring a set of recommendations that could implemented to have our set of leadership in AI.
- It includes building of 5 centres for fundamental research, 10 centres for applied research, building a large common computer infrastructure for the country so that researchers and startups don’t struggle with the access to compute and launching a set of moonshot projects which expands on the technology front.
In what direction India is moving and how far it has to go?
- India is having only 400 PhD scholars out of total 20,00 in the world.
- Three pillars for AI are people (who can design algorithms) data and compute. The NITI Ayog has done a comprehensive job on identifying how to put everything together so Aayog has proposed a system called “Airavat” which would be compute cluster where all the researchers and lot of practitioners and startups can plug in so that there is no dearth of compute.
- The kind of research challenge that Indian researchers face today is because of lack of high quality compute infrastructure at a large scale.
- India is the number 5th in the number of AI companies in a country in the world as well in AI jobs.
- But it is in the 13th rank in the terms of AI research quality and quantity produce and far behind in making the startups a success.
How is the entire AI ecosystem in India?
- The National Mission on interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical System which is being implemented by the Department of Science and Technology.
- This Mission covers the various technologies like AI, Machine learning, deep learning and all the other learning techniques. Other advanced technologies like robotics or sensors and activators etc.
- The mission has a plan to establish 25 technology innovation hubs across the country. These hubs have a mandate of creating an ecosystem in all these technologies. For example, the technology development translation research and as well as converting that research into product is one of the major aim of this mission.
- The department of Science and Technology is also addressing the skill development, the human resource development and as well as the capacity building in the entire country.
- The startup ecosystem is also the prime focus area of the government and mission.
- The fourth aim or objective of the mission is the international connect which seeks international collaborations to develop solutions for India specific problems.
- Indian government is trying to build the entire ecosystem for AI.
Is the risk v/s opportunity assessment has been done carefully?
- As mentioned above, there is a trillion-dollar opportunity and the three aspects present i.e. automation, augmentation and the general increase in productivity because of the first two.
- For India, as far as AI and its application is concerned the augmentation is the most dominant aspect comprising 80-85 percent of the ecosystem.
- India can build on the capability of different sectors with limited experts focusing mainly on the complicated and the most routine cases and then get automated and becomes a routine effect.
- The role of government becomes very important in augmentation. The government can build in the requisite infrastructure tools.
- The first step is developing a large imaging bio bank for cancer which is the combination of radiology and pathology slides combined with patient data etc.
- As a country the biggest role would be augmentation led by innovation and artificial intelligence.
- The foreign companies are trying to grab the local data repository which could be a huge risk and should be dealt very carefully.
- Creating a cloud based infrastructure for current period will be a leap which will ensure the Indian data will remain within the Indian boundary.
- The jobs, transparency, bias and robustness are the four areas of concern.
- There is no clarity and human don’t know why AI makes a certain kind of decision and not another and they are black box. The AI system cannot tell the reason for mistakes done by it.
- The another issue AI is run from data and the data has human biases and therefore, the biases are get magnified by the AI system.
Importance of domestic or Indigenous players
- India and its problems are unique. Therefore, the products should also be developed keeping in mind the uniqueness of problems or challenges.
- The foreign products cannot serve the solutions which are built from the foreign perspectives as well the AI systems cannot be trained for domestic issues.
- It could become an opportunity for India as the domestic players can develop the AI products more suited to the Indian demands and help in enhancing the living standards of people.
There are opportunities and concerns on ethics, privacy accountability, security and fairness and that is where we think that we need to bring the best of experts in AI and make India their chosen playground. Hence, large scale investment in researchers is important and where the NITI Aayog and other departments are playing a crucial role. The government is put in place the ecosystem both in terms of institutions as well in terms of opportunities for domestic players and for the benefit of mankind i.e. society.