By Elton Gomes
Underlining the need for artificial intelligence (AI) in developing society, the government think tank NITI Aayog has identified five sectors where AI can be implemented. The think tank plans to direct AI’s benefits towards the sectors of healthcare, agriculture, education, smart cities and infrastructure, and transportation, as per the Times of India.
NITI Aayog revealed its discussion paper on India’s strategy for AI, which is aimed at guiding research and development in new and emerging technologies. Titled National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, the paper sheds light on how India can make the most of transformative technologies to ensure social and inclusive growth that is in accord with the government’s development philosophy.
The think tank’s Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant expressed confidence over the suggestions provided in the paper, “The paper gives many disruptive suggestion(s) including one to utilise market place models for data, annotation and deployable solutions in AI. We need to democratise access to and development of this technology.”
The paper mentions that AI can help increase access and affordability to quality healthcare. Moreover, in the agricultural sector, AI can help farmers increase their income and productivity. It also mentions that AI can help improve the quality of education and widen its access; it can build efficient infrastructure to cater to India’s growing population, and can develop better transportation modes to reduce traffic congestion and other related problems.
Furthermore, in the education sector, AI is capable of streamlining several processes by developing systems to inform and support decision-making across administrative stages.
Besides highlighting how AI can be useful for various sectors in India, the paper also touched upon challenges that need to be resolved to allow India to enjoy all the benefits of AI. Some of these challenges included the lack of enabling data ecosystem, low intensity of research within AI, and insufficient availability of expertise, manpower and skilling opportunities in the field of AI.
To resolve some of these challenges, the paper suggested the establishment of a research centre – Centre of Research Excellence – that focuses on core technology research in AI.
Why does this matter
The discussion paper comes in the backdrop of the NITI Aayog’s attempts to combine with Google to foster AI in India. In May 2018, NDTV reported that Google would train and incubate AI startups in India. It was reported that the startups would be mentored by Google and its affiliates to help them to make competent use of AI. The NDTV report further mentioned that Google would offer online training courses on AI to students, graduates, and engineers across multiple cities in India.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius.
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