Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) inaugurated the AI Application & Digi-Tech Summit & Expo in Bengaluru on Tuesday. Themed “Shifting to applied intelligence” the two-day summit focussed on creating enhanced awareness on AI and Machine Learning. Deliberations at the event touched upon the rapid developments in the areas of Internet of Things, Data Analytics, Automation and Robotics from a user industry viewpoint. The summit acted as a platform for technology solution providers, startups, innovators and disruptors to showcase their solutions across diverse industry segments.
Delivering his inaugural address, Prashant Kumar Mishra, IAS, Director – IT & BT and Managing Director, Karnataka Innovation and Technology Society, Government of Karnataka, said that the Government has made significant advancement in Artificial Intelligence (AI) which has led to more time and more accurate decision making. "Karnataka has led the IT revolution in India and has always been at the forefront in areas of science and IT. With the setting up of Artificial Intelligence Research Translation Park in association with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), the Government of Karnataka aims to prioritise AI pilot projects in several fields including agriculture, education, healthcare, transportation, financial services and urban management among others."
Krishnakumar Natrajan, Co-Founder Mindtree & Managing Partner, Mela Ventures, said that while the US and China are well ahead in Artificial Intelligence, India has a unique opportunity to lead the world in AI which is primarily because Indian technology companies have exposure to global customers and almost 75% of the $170 billion revenues of the Indian technology industry comes from global customers. In addition to this, India has over 4 million technology professionals which can drive the AI revolution in the country. According to him, India as the fastest growing country when it comes to the use of smartphones, which is number one in terms of data consumption, will provide the core foundation for AI systems which is data. "Government policies i.e. National AI Policy as well as AI for inclusive economy will be drivers for AI in India. Given the favourable ecosystem, India is poised to be a global leader in AI over the next 5 years. It is important that AI in its implementation is ethical and explainable for society to really buy into it."
Ramkumar Narayanan, VP & Managing Site Director R&D, VMware Software India said that the three major technology trends brought about by the next wave of AI are Cloud Computing, which allowed for data democratisation and analysis, Smartphones which enabled users to stream and consume data on the go and IoT. "We are generating an immense amount of data through various actions and we now have the ability to analyse and make sense of it. This, in his opinion, raises a whole bunch of issues, which is on the ethics of AI. According to him, when we look at the benefits of AI, we see it has a lot of advantages, but it also has a downside, leading to fraudulence at scale. Technology is neither good nor bad; it is how we use it that determines its overall usefulness. 65% of the global GDP will be digitised in the near future and it will grow at 3 to 5% a year and companies that are not in this revolution will not sustain in the long run."
Day two of the summit kick-started with a thought-provoking panel discussion on AI in Public Service. The session highlighted the benefits of AI interventions in Agriculture, Smart Cities, Healthcare, Skilling, Education, Public Utility Services, Judiciary and Governance.
Sameer Dhanrajani, CEO, AIQRATE said that in India we are seeing a great opportunity for AI to support various processes both in the public and private entities. "One of the areas where AI can be most effective is in the country’s judicial system. Currently, we have 33 million legal cases pending in India, 84% of which have an average pendency of 13 years. AI can be used to deal with all previous cases that we have in our repository by extrapolating it by means of text-mining, multilayer perceptron (MLP) and deep learning. Leaving the legal system to focus on their core job, which is to solve and close cases.
Globally, AI has seen $45 to $58 billion investment during the last year. It is growing at the fastest pace of any exponential technology. The AI segment will be worth over $100 billion by 2025. This gives ample indication of the scale and opportunities in this sector." According to Dhanrajani, the companies that have adopted AI will take away $1.2 trillion worth of business from their competitors. In 2019 alone, AI startups have received $14 billion investment across 600 funding events.
"Realising the importance of AI currently, 28 nations around the world are curating or drafting AI policies and strategies. India is one among them, however, where the country lags behind is in research. In India, we have only 2000 to 2500 research papers submitted every year and China has 10 times more. Out of 34.8 million students coming out of our higher education system in the country, only 18% are employed. The job opportunities in the new age will require skills that are not taught in our educational system and this needs to change."
India is uniquely poised to be a global leader in AI, and this is due to the diversity of our population generating a diverse set of data. Attaining a premier position in AI will require convergence of all stakeholders. Towards this, India needs to focus on three broad areas i.e. Education - infusing new age courses and adapting personalised learning powered by AI, Enable – create an open innovation platform, a pipeline of AI centric solutions and their adoption, and Ethics – Draft an operating framework within which AI can be developed, Dhanrajani elaborated.
The panel discussion highlighted the sectors in India where AI can make the most difference:
Agriculture – AI holds the key to unlock massive value from India’s agrarian economy by leveraging data to better predict and improve farm yield, speeding up agricultural finance, crop insurance, Kisan help centres and helping predict demand for agricultural produce. AI sensors in ponds help farmers to gain maximum value from shrimp farming through predictive maintenance.
Smart Cities – AI driven interventions can add substantial value in analysing local intelligence to improve traffic conditions and providing predictive intelligence on infrastructure development. It can be used to decentralise and decongest major cities.
Skilling – Utilising AI to predict demand for skills and equip educational institutions with insights to train the future workforce.
Swachh Bharat - AI and specifically computer vision can help substantially improve the success of Swachh Bharat. AI is already being used in the campaign in a big way. There is a WhatsApp number outside every sanitation facility. The user can send photographs of unhygienic conditions without providing any details. The photo will be processed at a central command centre and a call will be made to the vendor within 45 seconds to fix the facility. This is all being done at a cost of Rs 2 crore a month.
Healthcare – India’s high and diverse population makes it a fertile ground for population health studies. AI can be employed to provide evidence-based treatment options and analysing clinical notes to suggest a treatment procedure.
Governance – AI can power several governance initiatives ranging from security threats, RTI, potential fraud and corruption to improving the legal system, curbing human trafficking and tracking of missing persons.
With an objective of identifying and showcasing the best startup with the most Innovative scale deployment of Artificial Intelligence & Industrial AI in a large corporate environment, CII in association with Accenture Ventures held the ”CII AI Challenge" which felicitated the best startups in each segment. AskSid was recognised as the Best Startup for Innovative deployment of Artificial Intelligence in large scale corporate environment. Qualitas Technologies was recognised as the Best Startup for Innovative deployment of Industrial AI in large scale corporate environment. The summit witnessed a live audience poll for the presentation made by the startups and Orbo.ai was recognised has Best Startup in Audience poll category.