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India takes the first step to building an AI vision


Last year, the Union ministry of commerce constituted a task force to look at how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be leveraged for India’s economic growth. The report of this task force, released recently, makes for interesting reading.

Report highlights:

Domains for rapid AI incorporation

  • The report identified 10 specific domains for rapid AI incorporation which can be the most beneficial for the Indian state, economy, and citizens.
  • Manufacturing, fintech, health, agriculture, technology for the differently abled, national security, environment, public utility services, retail and education.

Four “grand challenges” for AI incorporation:

  1. Improving manufacturing, especially in the SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) sector;
  2.  Improving healthcare quality;
  3. Improving agriculture yields
  4. Improving delivery of public services.

Specific issues:

  • The availability of good quality data is one of the biggest issues facing the development of AI in India, and remedying this must take top priority. The report proposes to do this via properly governed and regulated digital data marketplaces and exchanges.
  • The importance given to the use of AI as an accessibility technology.
  • The willingness of the task force to engage with the difficult AI policy questions.
  • AI and employment: The report argues, citing a number of studies, that AI will in all likelihood create more jobs than it will destroy. However, the report also categorically states that India-specific quantitative models and studies need to be encouraged to arrive at informed conclusions about the relationship between AI and jobs in India.

Artificial intelligence

 Artificial intelligence is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence (NI) displayed by humans and other animals.

In computer science AI research is defined as the study of "intelligent agents": any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of successfully achieving its goals. Colloquially, the term "artificial intelligence" is applied when a machine mimics "cognitive" functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as "learning" and "problem solving".