We recently interacted with Sukanya Mandal, Data Science Professional and IEEE Member on artificial intelligence,its impact on corporate sector,policy reforms needed to boost the indian AI sector and the impact it is going to have on our lifestyle in coming years.IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology and also world’s largest association of technical professionals with more than 420,000 members in over 160 countries around the world.Here are some excerpts from the interview:
- What is artificial intelligence? Tell us about the technological advancements artificial intelligence has seen in India?
The intelligence exhibited by a machine / computer systems to perform tasks which would otherwise requires human intelligence such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, translation between languages etc is termed as artificial intelligence.
In the recent past, India has experienced implementation of A.I. in e-commerce, retail, finance and healthcare domain. Recommending personalized products, predicting sales,customer behaviour, fraud detection are some of the arenas among others where A.I. is being implemented.Another major area that has been growing is Natural Language Processing (dialogue systems, chatbots)
- How is A.I. helping impacting human efficiency in the corporate sector?
On one hand, A.I. with its intelligence and automated nature is helping to increase human efficiency because much of the task that requires basic intelligence, human labor and time can be done by an intelligent machine in no time thus reducing time.
On the other hand, low-skilled, repeatable labor can be assigned to robotic systems provides an incentive for part of the workforce to be trained in higher level skills such as designing, monitoring and oversight, and adjusting machine algorithms to enable AI systems to operate in a reliable and transparent manner. This would mean a shift in the nature of employment that India is likely to experience.
- What policy reforms do you think are needed to boost the Indian AI sector
In India, A.I. applications are still at a nascent stage. There has been private efforts from the startup sector to benefit the society with A.I. potential but the public sector still needs to contribute to the effort enthusiastically to realize the full potential of A.I. to ensure the l country’s growth.
Along with Skill India and Digital India initiatives, India needs to follow a proper educational approach to educate the common masses and students about the presence of A.I. based technologies. Some kind of academic programs needs to be considered to enable people understand the benefits and detriments of such technologies in their lives.
Public – private funding policies also needs to be considered.
A proper infrastructure policy to deploy A.I. solution would help and boost the small scale startup to with little finding to provide innovative solutions.
Policy to proliferate the rapid growing A.I. technology to benefit various diversified sectors of the Indian economy otherwise the proper potential of A.I. in such sectors would not be realized. This might hinder growth in such sectors.
Proper R&D initiatives and long term research funding policies needs to be taken into consideration to ensure A.I. innovation in India. This would require patience because there are possibilities that sometimes the research might not yield any result.
As there will be a shift in job roles, some considerations needs to be adapted to create new ones and also to train the existing work force.
India should take into account that A.I. is a critical element and has can have severe effect on the national security.
Deploying A.I. ethically is another concern which would require to set up the right policies.
Taking such policy measures will help Indian industries leverage strong A.I. solutions so that the country benefits maximally from the A.I. revolution.
- Do you see AI having a big influence on our lifestyle in the coming years ?
Whether we like it or not, AI is definitely going to be a part of our lives. Starting from personal digital assistant to children’s education to monitoring the food we eat – AI will be all around us. Automatically our lifestyle will change. Consider the time when we did not have a smartphone. Our lives were moving ahead without it. Then came a time when smartphone started booming and nowadays almost everyone uses one and a large extent of population has made it a part of their life. In the coming years AI seems to make a bigger effect. Our lifestyle will change from ‘trying to overcome the hard task’ to ‘just deploying a solution that will do the work for us’. While in some situation this shift would be helpful whereas in other situations it would just make one lazy.
- Any additional comments
India has great potential in terms of talent and skills. A few government initiative has increased hope. With A.I. in hand, India has the resource to reach heights. All these available resources, with the correct opportunities and strategies will do wonders for India.