The Future of Artificial Intelligence in India
AI stands poised to disrupt and transform varied domains across India and the world.
In recent months, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been making waves thanks to its swift inroads into myriad sectors. Sometimes termed machine learning – which doesn’t completely capture AI’s infinite implications – the technology is at an inflection point as various analysts extol or forewarn about its benefits or perils, respectively.
For now, we are concerned with the actual benefits of AI, not potential downsides. As smart devices mimic human intelligence, AI operates by quickly decoding the 3Vs of Big data: volume, velocity and variety. But where human intelligence has its limits and limitations, AI can overcome many if not all, limitations. Indeed, as AI evolves, it’s expected to become sentient. Once this happens, the self-learning software could keep increasing its awareness with each learning cycle, finally surpassing human intelligence.
The vast applications of AI are transforming business models in varied domains. Consider automobiles where AI has wide applicability across all level of autonomous & assistive driving. Starting from risky driving behaviour detection, AI can extend to become brain of self-driving cars. Similar impact can be seen in other sectors too. Aviation, banking, insurance, healthcare, retail, media, etc. all are likely to be impacted by the meteoric rise of AI. As the nation moves steadily towards a less-cash society, the spread of digitalization is tantamount to the advent and rise of AI.
In fact, Indian tax sleuths are already harnessing the super-sleuthing powers of AI in sifting through Big Data, thereby tracking shady online transactions to weed out black money. Inadvertently or otherwise, the Indian authorities are driving the growth of AI in the country as cash transactions are sought to be replaced by digital ones.
Likewise, banks and other financial institutions are ensuring speedy appraisals of credit histories. The savings in time, talent and costs are enormous, helping them create a list of creditworthy customers while weeding out black sheep. Through AI, financial institutions will be better placed to reduce the menace of non-performing assets. Similarly, there are other benefits accruing from AI usage that may not be directly attributed to it, but occurring nonetheless.
For example, the use of AI in sales and marketing could be humongous. Ditto for health care and a nation striving to drive better healthcare access. AI could help drive faster diagnosis of ailments by matching symptoms within seconds, at speeds no doctor could match. All this could happen even if patients were hundreds of miles away, digital connectivity on both sides being the only prerequisite. The IT sector too will be impacted as the services quotient is bound to keep declining yearly, as intelligent software begins replacing human intellect.
A special mention is required of AI in automotive and logistics. Backed by AI, online orders could be delivered within hours the same day. AI can be deployed to control processes between producers, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers and the end customers. Autonomous vehicle systems will comprise features like co-pilot warning, forward collision or lane departure warning, profiling of drivers, predictive analytics, vulnerable-user detection, emergency brake and lane keep assist, automatic steering, HD maps and 3D reconstruction.
While being the mainstay of future supply chains, driverless cars will be supported by Big Data Analytics, the Internet of Things and Cloud Computing. As the technology keeps leapfrogging, it will be possible to convert vehicles to self-driving ones. A major benefit of autonomous cars is accident rates could plummet sharply, improving road safety and saving thousands of lives annually.
From robots to chatbots, speech recognition software to drones and car drones, ATMs as well as other machines and devices, AI is ubiquitous in India and elsewhere, whether people know it or not. Naturally, voices of apprehension are arising about AI’s impact on employment opportunities. Sooner rather than later, self-driving cars will mean drivers are no longer required. While this sounds scary, there’s no doubt that the rise of AI will lead to alternate jobs arising in sunrise sectors, which we cannot contemplate fully at this juncture.
Let’s not make the mistake of fearing and opposing AI like the Luddites did with industrialization. The Industrial Revolution may have eliminated millions of low-level jobs. Conversely, it created more employment in hundreds of verticals unimaginable earlier. As the saying goes, water will always find its own level; so will human ingenuity in creating entrepreneurship and employment opportunities. AI will simply take some skills to higher orbits, even if others are purged.
Therefore, along with the rest of the global community, India needs to promote R&D and innovation in AI. The future of India as a global power could well be contingent upon the success of the nation’s AI programme.