Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated RAISE 2020, a Mega Virtual Summit on Artificial Intelligence (AI) on October 5.
RAISE 2020 is a global meeting of minds to exchange ideas and chart a course for using AI for social transformation, inclusion and empowerment in areas like Healthcare, Agriculture, Education and Smart Mobility, among other sectors.
Artificial Intelligence: Issues And Achievements Highlighted By The PM
- The Prime Minister stressed how the world’s largest unique identity system – Aadhaar along with the world’s most innovative digital payments system – UPI has enabled providing access to digital services, including financial services, like Direct Cash Transfers to the poor and marginalised. During the pandemic, it has enabled in reaching out to people with help, at the earliest and in the most efficient manner.
- The Prime Minister said India has recently adopted the National Education Policy 2020, which focuses on technology-based learning and skilling as a major part of education. He added E-courses will also be developed in various regional languages and dialects. This whole effort will benefit from Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities of AI platforms. He said under the ‘Responsible AI for Youth’ program launched in April 2020, more than 11,000 students from schools completed the basic course. They are now building their AI projects.
- The Prime Minister said the National Educational Technology Forum will create an e-Education unit to boost the digital infrastructure, digital content and capacity. He elaborated the steps taken to keep pace with the emerging technologies like setting up of Virtual labs, Atal Innovation Mission.
- He said the National Programme on Artificial Intelligence will be dedicated for solving problems of society.
- Shri Modi listed the sectors in which he envisions a big role for AI – agriculture, creating next generation urban infrastructure, addressing urban issues like: reducing traffic jams, improving sewage systems and laying energy grids, making disaster management systems stronger and solving the problem of climate change. He suggested using AI to seamlessly bridge language barriers and preserve the diversity of languages and dialects. He also suggested using AI for knowledge sharing.
- The Prime Minister said Algorithm Transparency is key to establishing trust in how AI is used and it remains our collective responsibility to ensure it.
- He urged to protect the world against weaponization of AI by Non-State Actors.
India’s Approach To Leadership in AI
AI refers to the ability of machines to perform cognitive tasks like thinking, perceiving, learning, problem solving and decision making. Initially conceived as a technology that could mimic human intelligence, AI has evolved in ways that far exceed its original conception. With incredible advances made in data collection, processing and computation power, intelligent systems can now be deployed to take over a variety of tasks, enable connectivity and enhance productivity.
As AI’s capabilities have dramatically expanded, so have its utility in a growing number of fields.
The truly transformative nature of the technology, yet the nascent stage of its adoption worldwide, provides India with an opportunity to define its own brand of AI leadership. #AIforAll – the brand proposed for India implies inclusive technology leadership, where the full potential of AI is realised in pursuance of the country’s unique needs and aspirations.
The strategy should strive to leverage AI for economic growth, social development and inclusive growth, and finally as a “Garage” for emerging and developing economies.
Five Focus Sectors
While AI has the potential to provide large incremental value to a wide range of sectors, adoption till date has been driven primarily from a commercial perspective. Technology disruptions like AI are once-in-ageneration phenomenon, and hence large-scale adoption strategies, especially national strategies, need to strike a balance between narrow definitions of financial impact and the greater good. NITI Aayog has decided to focus on five sectors that are envisioned to benefit the most from AI in solving societal needs:
- Healthcare: increased access and affordability of quality healthcare,
- Agriculture: enhanced farmers’ income, increased farm productivity and reduction of wastage,
- Education: improved access and quality of education,
- Smart Cities and Infrastructure: efficient and connectivity for the burgeoning urban population, and
- Smart Mobility and Transportation: smarter and safer modes of transportation and better traffic and congestion problems.
Barriers To The Deployment Of AI
To truly reap the benefits of deploying AI at scale, the report identifies the following barriers that need to be addressed in order to achieve the goals of #AIforAll:
- Lack of broad based expertise in research and application of AI,
- Absence of enabling data ecosystems – access to intelligent data,
- High resource cost and low awareness for adoption of AI,
- Privacy and security, including a lack of formal regulations around anonymisation of data, and
- Absence of collaborative approach to adoption and application of AI.
Superior research capabilities have been the cornerstone of leadership aspirations in emerging technologies and effectively realising the growth potential requires expertise in both core and applied research. Despite indications of recent positive efforts in this aspect of technology, AI research in India is still in its infancy and requires large scale concerted and collaborative interventions.
Two-tiered Structure To Address India’s AI Research Aspirations
The paper proposes a two-tiered structure to address India’s AI research aspirations:
- Centre of Research Excellence (CORE) focused on developing better understanding of existing core research and pushing technology frontiers through creation of new knowledge;
- International Centers of Transformational AI (ICTAI) with a mandate of developing and deploying application-based research. Private sector collaboration is envisioned to be a key aspect of ICTAIs.