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AI initiatives~II

AI can prove to be a catalytic agent in doubling farmer’s income also. Using drones for crop surveillance can drastically increase farm yields and it is cost effective, time saving and can be meaningfully integrated with GIS mapping and crop health imaging, by using image processing software.

Parthasarathi Chakraborty | New Delhi |

“AI will reach human levels by around 2029. Follow that out further to, say, 2025,we will have multiplied the intelligence, the human biological machine intelligence, of our civilisation a billion fold” ~ Ray Kurjwell Using science and technology-based Artificial Intelligence (AI) to support school education and stimulating innovations for students has numerous benefits, but in doing this, we must also exercise caution.

The benefits lie in the ability of information technology-based learning environments to sustain student attention, encourage learners to develop imagination, foster curiosity, allow experimentation, and above all move towards a conducive learning environment that is self-paced and adaptive.

Students learn at different speeds. A technology-based learning environment can allow the learner to decide how much more practice or learning he/she needs in the area. In addition to adaptive learning, tools with intensive analytical capabilities such as learning analytics can go far in helping teachers to understand indispensable requirements of the child, thereby optimising time by focusing on the needs of the child.

This arena may be described as a remarkable base for fostering AI cognitive capabilities, effectively and meaningfully, by using innovative software. Niti Aayog’s innovative project INSPIRE and ATLAB for reforming laboratories of school science education, using sophisticated computer-based software and other gadgets is remarkable indeed, and has been embraced by young innovators of tomorrow, in more than 10,000 schools of our country.

Brian A. Rellinger, CIO, Ohio Wesleyan University has been experimenting with drones to see how they can be effectively used to enhance the teaching-learning process and research. Drones are also featuring in programmes in the syllabus of school education in the US. Amazon’s latest research on drones includes collision-avoidance technology and remote- controlled devices.

“The post- Covid-19 world witnessed an urgent need for digital transformation across sectors and AI would play a big role in this arena, as people and organisations look to do more at less cost”, iterates Laura Longford, Vice President of Microsoft Worldwide Learning Field. It is ameliorating that the Indian government has developed a national portal for AI which is collating all ongoing research in the field. AI can prove to be a catalytic agent in doubling farmer’s income also.

Using drones for crop surveillance can drastically increase farm yields and it is cost effective, time saving and can be meaningfully integrated with GIS mapping and crop health imaging, by using image processing software. To that extent, it is imperative to use AI-backed advanced analytical applications, pest control mechanisms, waste management equipment and tools to improve supply chain management and smooth market access in order to revamp Indian agriculture.

Researchers have developed cloud-seeding drones to automatically manipulate weather, to assist farmers. Canada was the first country to adopt a national strategy on AI. In the core research publications on AI, India ranks third in the world with 12,135 documents ~ behind US and China. The UK Government recently announced its first-ever National AI Strategy ~ a 10-year plan at the Alan Turing Institute, which was set up in 2015 as a national research centre for data science and artificial intelligence.

The G-7 Summit recently agreed to establish a Global partnership on AI. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has launched a Policy Observatory, to embrace futuristic AI policy and development, which is praiseworthy. But going ahead with a human-centric approach to responsible AI, its implementation ethics and safety, adhering to social principles, and framing a comprehensive legislative scheme are absolutely imperative.

Moreover, its R &D continuous monitoring processes pose an intricate problem and need to be addressed with pragmatism. All countries should come forward with open minds to harness the potential of AI and should embrace international cooperation. AI will not retrench people; on the contrary, it will generate a wealth of new types of jobs amid the present dismal environment.

When computers arrived in the last century in our country, comrades of the Communist parties (CPI and CPM), became bewildered and tried to resist its operations, on the plea that humans would be replaced by machines. But ultimately, they paved the way for fusion of skills in this new era of human-machine collaboration. In the same way, the AI revolution is destined to occur, and will augment humanity. Are you scared yet, human?

This is the title of a post-editorial article published in a European newspaper some time back written by a robot. It claimed that an opinion piece was written in its entirety by a language generating robot, using intelligently a GPT-3 language machine to produce human-like text.

After the soulless algorithm was asked to write an essay, the robot came up with as many as eight articles. However, the best part of it, the succinct and quintessential portion, was published. GPT, Generative PreTrained Transformer 3 is an innovative language model AI, developed in a laboratory of San Francisco.

As a matter of fact, AI is transforming the way computer programs are written. The book Human + Machine written by Paul R Daugherty and H James Wilson describes vividly how jobs and tasks can be redesigned to enable humans and machines to achieve more effective, efficient outcomes together, helping workforce transition in a conducive way. This is a remarkable book which explains succinctly that AI is no longer just a futuristic notion.

From the factory floor to the doctor’s operation theatre, in day-to-day office work, reform of education, in predicting migration patterns and crop yields, reimagining businesses, games, cleaning garbage and in going to the moon and outer space, AI is indispensable. It must be borne in mind that AI adoption remains at a nascent stage in India. We need international collaborative efforts to accelerate technology diffusion, promote R&D, and address key issues like data protection, ethics, transparency and accountability in a befitting manner.

The success in embracing AI and machine learning (MN) rests largely on framing transparent policies rather than technology. Nonetheless, the AI revolution is destined to occur in our country soon.


(The writer is a former Reader in Chemistry Presidency College, Kolkata and was associated with the UGC and UNICEF)