Is AI really working? What India needs to look at?

Is AI really working? What India needs to look at?
Last year, India ranked third in AI research across the world, with 12,135 citable documents. There is no industry that AI hasn’t crossed the path with, whether it’s agriculture, healthcare, education, space, defense, gaming, automotive or others. But do we see AI being implemented on the ground level to reap benefits? While many argued about the usage of AI post a certain level, the last few months just changed everyone’s perception.

The pandemic turned to be one of the worst causes of global recession since 2009 apart from killing nearly 820,000+ people globally. Though the medical fraternity is working day and night breaking every boundary, AI is providing them more power to check COVID-19. How? AI is adept at identifying patterns from big data and China is indeed a perfect case-study to follow where using AI, the country put a check on the spread of coronavirus. The advancements in AI applications like NLP, data analytics, ML, deep learning and others helped the COVID warriors in contact tracing and vaccine development, thus putting a check on its spread while finding a cure too. The technology also provided virtual healthcare assistance in the form of chatbots that answers questions related to coronavirus, guide the patients, monitor the symptoms and even advice if they need to visit a hospital/doctor. AI also helps with image scan analysis, thus reducing healthcare staff workloads. On the other hand, using AI, robots are minimizing contact between patients and healthcare professionals.

This is the new era in healthcare. And as this transition seems successful with positive results, we will see technology integrating into more functions and the process becoming a new normal for the humankind.

Kept the Learning Moving
As the pandemic loomed, schools and educational institutes were shut. From few weeks to now even five months later, the schools are still running virtually. When all of a sudden our teachers were asked to move online to take classes, it was a challenge for them too to leverage the platform to provide seamless learning. Not just the masters but the students too were in a state of perplex on learning online. Parents were struggling to make the learning uninterrupted for their kids. But did they succeed and how did AI help them in doing so?

The sudden pivot to remote learning put a strain on schools and students alike. This forced many schools to hastily deploy not just the online learning tools but also the use of analytics and AI mostly in higher education. AI helped schools monitor how well students hold up academically and emotionally during this crisis. Though theory can be completely shifted to online, practical, lab classes faced the wrath of the time. But virtual labs and videos created using AI are providing a shy of relief for the education sector that won’t remain out of practical learning. Going forward, once AI and VR becomes a part of the ecosystem, the education system will completely transpire stronger with more power to students to learn from anywhere anytime and any subject.

Farmers Partner during Crisis & Otherwise
From soil health to even managing livestock, farmers are looking at leveraging technologies like AI to the fullest to enhance their agriculture production. According to a report, the global AI in agriculture market is expected to register a whopping growth of 24.8 percent CAGR between 2020 and 2030, taking the market worth to $8,379.5 million in 2030 from just $852.2 million in 2019.

No wonder, there will be an increasing implementation of AI in agriculture as the world will have more people to feed and less space to cultivate food. On the other hand, the changing behavior of climate will also push farmers to adapt AI in ensuring safe cultivation and harvesting. Companies are already developing autonomous robots to handle essential agriculture tasks that surpass what humans can do. On the other hand, farmers are leveraging crop & soil monitoring technology to monitor crop & soil health. Companies are using computer vision and deep-learning algorithms to process the data captured by drones or software based technology to provide precious information to farmers. To monitor weather changes, experts use machine learning models to track and predict any change.

Supply Chain – The Limbo that Needs Fixing
According to a report, the global AI in supply chain management market will reach $1.3 billion by 2024. The report said that in addition to fully automated decision making, AI systems are also leveraging various forms of cognitive computing to optimize the combined efforts of artificial and human intelligence. It further added that AI in supply chain management is enabling improved supply chain automation through the use of virtual assistants used both internally and externally as well as between supply chain members. But then the latest annual MHI Industry report that surveyed around 1,001 supply chain professionals in various industries mentions that only 12 percent of the surveyed professionals feel that their organizations currently use AI in their operations while 60 percent expect to do so within the next five years. The survey also found that only 28 percent of the respondents use predictive analytics.

But a country that waste 40 percent of its crop worth $14 billion each year due to poor cold chain logistics & disorganized logistics and whose 15 percent of population lives in hunger can not incorporate AI in its supply chain? While India is one of the largest food producing countries it also tops the list of countries where a larger population sleeps hungry. Hence it becomes more important for India to integrate AI in supply chain. The benefits are limitless. Through self-learning and NLP, AI capabilities can help automate various supply chain processes such as demand forecasting, production planning or predictive maintenance, reported Gartner. Its report also explained that AI supports the shift to broader supply chain automation that many organizations are seeking.

India’s Growing Love for AI
So when the possibilities are endless, what is India doing to adapt it benefit to the fullest? Realizing AI’s potential to transform economies and the need to strategize its approach, Finance Minister mandated NITI Aayog to establish the National Program on AI. This program would be catalyzed by the establishment of the National Centre on AI as a hub along with six centres of excellence while a national AI portal will also be developed.

According to an Accenture report, AI has the potential to add $957 billion to India’s economy in 2035. The country already has over 200 AI startups who are engaged in innovating and creating AI-based solutions for various industries. As per NITI Aayog, it will focus on five sectors that will benefit the most from AI in solving societal needs. They are healthcare, agriculture, education, smart cities & infrastructure, and smart mobility & transportation. This could surely boost the sectors I spoke about earlier and help India become a smarter, stronger and healthier nation.
What do you think!