How Artificial Intelligence can benefit India

Feb 12, 2018 | 2574 Views

Today, Artificial Intelligence is heavily used for automation across several industries.  Robots are already taking over jobs that do not require human intelligence.  Many manufacturers are using robots to replace tasks such as welding, mining activities, movement of parts within a factory that were previously carried out by humans. 

The financial industry has a great need in the use of AI and machine learning for investment advisory. The heavy use of AI is also in the healthcare industry.  AI is helping physicians to decide on the best treatment and predict future complications that a patient may encounter.  Tasks such as differentiating a cancerous cell from a non-cancerous cell can be easily achieved through AI-based tools.

According to CEO, Google, Sundar Pichai, "AI is more important to humans than fire or electricity.  However, it is important to understand that AI is not a one-stop solution to all the problems."
AI has also failed in many contexts.  Davenport and Ronanki (2018) points out a project started by MD Anderson Cancer Centre called 'moon shot', to diagnose and recommend treatment for certain forms of cancer using IBM Watson's cognitive system in 2013, which was put on hold after spending $62 million and gained no tangible output.  There is a misconception that techniques such as neural networks are much superior to other machine learning algorithms.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley informs that Niti Aayog will initiate national programs on AI during the budget presentation in 2018.  China is also heavily investing on AI since past few years. To be precise, it is actually investing $2.1 billion in creating an AI research park.

Countries such as India can benefit a lot through the usage of AI by focusing on sectors such as healthcare, agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure etc.  Another area to be focused is the use of AI in defense. Issues such as tax evasion, money laundering etc can be easily addressed using AI.  The government will play an important role in encouraging AI research among Indian scientific community. There is a need to reskill the current workforce since many skills will become irrelevant in the future. There is a great opportunity for India to excel in AI, also in the IT industry.  

In fact, IIM-Bangalore is currently developing AI-based models to maximize groundwater recharge systems and minimizing farmer distress.

However, AI can also be misused especially in the case of technology.  In December 2017, many resellers created AI-based bots to purchase popular Christmas gifts at a lower price from Amazon and Walmart and sold at much higher price using other portals.  For example, one of the popular toys, 'fingerlings' was purchased at $15 and sold at $60. Customers had to pay $60 since it was not available at the original sellers anymore after the bots had purchased all of them.

Toby Walsh, in his latest book titled, Machines That Think, claims that AI can take many paths, many good and bad too. Lastly, it is up to the society to decide which path to take.

Source: HOB