NITI Aayog releases strategy on artificial intelligence, identifies 5 focus areas

It identified five sectors – healthcare, agriculture, education, smart cities and infrastructure and transportation – which will be aided by artificial intelligence (AI) to serve the societal needs.

NITI Aayog, on Monday, released a discussion paer on National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence. The aim is to leverage transformative technology to supplement human intelligence and thus ensure sustainable and inclusive growth.
 
To this end, the government's think tank has identified five sectors – healthcare, agriculture, education, smart cities and infrastructure and transportation – which will be aided by artificial intelligence (AI) to serve the societal needs.
 
AI refers to the ability of machines to perform cognitive tasks like thinking, perceiving, learning, problem solving and decision making.
 
"India, being the fastest growing economy with the second largest population in the world, has a significant stake in the AI revolution," the discussion paper said. 
 
NITI Aayog has adopted a three-pronged approach – undertaking exploratory proof-of-concept AI projects in various areas, crafting a national strategy for building a vibrant AI ecosystem in India and collaborating with various experts and stakeholders. 
 
According to the NITI Aayog paper, while AI can increase access and affordability of quality healthcare; in agriculture, it can contribute towards enhancing farmers' income, increase farm productivity and reduce wastage.
 
"The strategy should strive to leverage AI for economic growth, social development and inclusive growth, and finally as a “Garage” for emerging and developing economies," it said.
 
In order to reap the benefits of AI at scale, the report identifies the barriers that need to be addressed in order to achieve the goals of #AIforAll. 
 
These barriers are: lack of broad based expertise in research and application of AI; absence of enabling data ecosystems – access to intelligent data; high resource cost and low awareness for adoption of AI; privacy and security, including a lack of formal regulations around anonymization of data; and absence of collaborative approach to adoption and application of AI.
 
The paper noted, "...for accelerated adoption of a highly collaborative technology like AI, the government has to play the critical role of a catalyst in supporting partnerships, providing access to infrastructure, fostering innovation through research and creating the demand by seeking solutions for addressing various governmental needs."
 
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, in his last budget speech, had mandated the NITI Aayog to establish the national programme on AI to guide research and development in new and emerging technologies.
 
Source: NITI Aayog discussion paper

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