It is really hard to predict the future of a technology like artificial intelligence anywhere in the world. More so in India where trends are set in minutes and derailed in seconds. It is true that if you take the USA and China in the equation, India does not stand a chance in the race for AI innovation. But as I keep saying everywhere, it is not a race after all. Artificial intelligence is very potent technology. It can practically transform a developing country like ours. In fields ranging from agriculture, to healthcare, to automobile, to tourism, there is hardly a limit to what can be achieved with the implementation of AI in India. So, let us take a look at the current state of affairs and make wild guesses about how things may turn out to be in the future.
NITI Ayog and the facets of development
The Indian government made an announcement in the month of February in 2019 that the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Ayog will be responsible for paving the way for AI research and integration in India. This led to the commissioning of an AI task force with the goal of creating a solid framework for promoting and regulating AI innovation. Right now, the government is the primary investor in AI research and a swarm of startups as well as established tech firms are showing interest in participating in the spree of AI integration.
The three way advancement
According to Avik Sarkar, the head of data analytics cell for NITI Ayog, the initial focus of AI integration in India is to redress the issues in the fields of agriculture, healthcare, and education. We will see how AI can help in each of these areas.
AI in agriculture
The government has launched a district wise pilot programme to assess the practical impact of an AI based approach in agriculture. The goal is to use satellite imagery, weatherdata, and soil reports to guide the farmers so as to increase the yields. The use of artificial intelligence in genetic engineering has broadened the path of using better seeds and better fertilizers. If the AI based approach to make farmers better informed succeeds, it can be a great win for Indian agriculture.
AI in healthcare
India is a highly populated nation with a large portion of its population dwelling in villages. Healthcare has always been a challenge. AI can be of great help if used with vision. The number of patients per radiologist and pathologist in India is really high. The plan is to use image recognition to support the radiologists to make faster and more informed decisions. AI can be used to decrease the pressure on radiologists and pathologists, especially in the rural regions.
NITI Ayog is also working on the early detection of diabetic retinopathy, and cardiac diseases, with the help of AI. This can save a significant number of human beings as well as a lot of medical resources.
AI for education
There is an initiative by the government to use natural language processing to create chatbots that can operate in all 22 Indian languages. This will be incredibly helpful for students from all regions of India in terms of career counselling and education in general.
The future of AI in India
Going by the current state of affairs the future of AI in India is very promising. There is a consistent hike in the investments by private organizations. India is a very potent market for any sort of technological services, hence, it is obvious that the tech giants will strive for a piece of the Indian market. This will lead to further investments and development for sure.
The strange cultural obstacle for AI in India
It is a popular notion that failure in a novel enterprise is considered to be brave and praiseworthy in the West but in India and some other Asian countries failure leads to a loss of face and consequently of business. This is a deterrent to successful innovation in the field of AI. The same reason lies behind the abundance of copy-cat business models in India which are copied from US enterprises and customized for India.
The new league of AI aspirants and enthusiasts who are currently undergoing some machine learning course in Gurgaon, Delhi, Bangalore, or somewhere else, must wake up to the call for innovation and break the deadlocks of fear and uncertainty.
India has immense potential in terms of AI integration. We are still waiting for the leaders to set a new norm – one of fearless innovation.