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Can AI Power Atmanirbharata?

A matter of concern however, is that it also reports by 2030, AI will outperform humans in most of the mental tasks. Would not use AI powered Atmanirbharata be the answer then to our prosperity?

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Can Artificial Intelligence (AI) survive without human intelligence? Human intelligence is a collection of complex cognitive feats and high levels of motivation and self-awareness that allows us to learn from concepts, understand and apply logic and reason. Pattern recognition, comprehending ideas, planning, solving problems, making decisions, retaining information, and using language to communicate enhance intelligence. How do we manage so many feats? We do it with a coordinated effort of the sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Two more are the vestibular sense, that keeps our balance and movement and proprioception that tells our body, our awareness. Many more, which we may have never thought of but only felt, actually make our human world smart. 

Will AI surpass human thinking one day? Will AI predict the future? Will AI one day grow uncontrollably, eventually wiping out humanity if it decides we are incapable of governing ourselves resulting in a moment of “AI singularity”? We have the ability to solve problems since we plan by anticipating the future. We understand the current conditions, predict how the environment will evolve, and anticipate the outcome of the actions that will be applied. Can AI do all of this? Quantum theory thinks otherwise. Predicting the future may not be possible because the universe is random, chaotic and unstable. But what if we are not intelligent enough to predict the future? Is it possible to discretise the randomness to a point that it resembles a continuous function? Can we use all four facets of AI like the reactive machines, limited memory, theory of mind and self-awareness to build and enhance our capabilities? Is it possible to build an AI powered Atmanirbharata? 

Be that as it may, AI seems to be ruling our world today. Data analytics and AI are increasingly used today to drive systems both within the government and outside it resulting in efficiency at work and saving in time. Intelligent agents and AI help in perceiving the environment and help take actions to successfully achieve goals. AI’s success is in its ability to mimic the cognitive functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as learning and problem solving.

Will it be hard to imagine our daily routines without the help of AI in times to come? We are all hooked onto smart phones 24x7x365, as if they were our alter egos. First thing in the morning, having woken up, we stare into the phone to unlock it. When it is unlocked, AI enables biometrics such as our face ID. When Apple’s FaceID recognises a face in 3D, it lights up the face and places 30,000 invisible infrared dots and captures an image. Machine learning algorithms are then used to compare the scan of the face with what is stored to determine if the person trying to unlock is the same or not. 

Having unlocked, most of us rush to see the social media accounts like the Facebook or twitter or similar. Have we ever realised that it is AI that personalises what we see, having learnt it from our previous surfing history? It even figures out friend suggestions, and filters fake news for us. Sometimes it even prevents us from cyber scams.  

We might then catch up on work and send a few mails across complete with language auto checked for spellings and grammar. Again, AI and natural language processing (NLP) is at work. On the other hand, when we receive mails, spam filters use AI to block emails suspected as spam. Even the anti-virus software that sits on our machines uses machine learning to protect our email account. We cannot spend an hour without searching Google, some word or a product or an event. We have AI again, for no search engine works without it. Even the Ads that keep chasing us are enabled by AI based on our search history. 

We then get ready to reach office or attend a meeting and lo, we get directions on the phone in reaching the destination. We would even get a weather report, information of possible rain, all with a voice over. Ever wondered how it is done? AI powered digital voice assistants are at work that use NLP like the Siri and Alexa to Google Home and Cortana. The travel aids enabled by AI, are not merely maps. Besides giving real-time traffic, they even suggest ways to avoid gridlocks. The cars we drive or even our offices and homes are increasingly becoming "smart." Being installed with ‘smart’ thermostats which learn our heating/cooling preferences and daily habits and adjust the temperature to our liking. Soon, we may even see driver-assist technology cars on our roads to drive us to and from work. 

On our way to work, we might want to visit the bank. Here too, several services that assist us use AI. Have we not lost count of the number of security alerts we get of our transactions and that detect fraud? Suppose we deposit a check by scanning it with our phone, or get a low-balance alert, or even log on to our online banking account, it is AI at work. If we stop over at a petrol filling station to buy petrol, use a debit/credit card, AI will verify the purchase to determine if it's a "normal" transaction to either validate or decline the transaction for fear someone unauthorized is using the credit card.

We all must have bought something sometime online, through the online retailer Amazon. What is not known however, is that Amazon is so confident in its predictive analytics and algorithms with its anticipatory shipping algorithm, that it will ship products even before we enter “click to buy”.

As the day ends, and as we return home to relax, many of us turn to streaming services such as Netflix. Its recommendation engine is powered by AI and uses past viewing history to deliver suggestions for what we might want to watch, including genres, actors, time periods, and more. Its tool gets as specific as what time of day you we were watching and what we traditionally like during that timeframe. In fact, Netflix's recommendations drive 80% of what we watch today. 

In as much as AI helps ease our chores, in recent times, job opportunities have plummeted with the its onslaught coupled with Automation, intelligent agents, a highly specialised industry 4.0, changing business processes, and changing economic fortunes. Still, it is heartening to read a World Economic Forum report on the future of Jobs and AI, when it says AI will create 58 million new jobs by 2022. A matter of concern however, is that it also reports by 2030, AI will outperform humans in most of the mental tasks. Would not use AI powered Atmanirbharata be the answer then to our prosperity?

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Aatmanirbhar Bharat artificial intelligence

Dr. S.S. Mantha

Former Chairman of AICTE, Dr. Mantha is an eminent academician. At present, he is Chancellor KL University and Adjunct Professor, NIAS, Bangalore.

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