India witnessed infusion of Artificial Intelligence across industries in 2017

NEW DELHI: When it comes to disruptive technologies that will drive businesses in the coming years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is touted as the most promising and Indian enterprises across the spectrum began embracing it to enhance real-time user experiences.

Picking up the pace globally, AI gradually cemented its position as the technology is quite transverse and perceived as less gimmicky, impacting several functions to improve productivity and business results, says Thomas Husson, Vice President and Principal Analyst, Forrester.

From flushing out fake and terror-related content to making sense of humongous data for self-driving cars, from helping identify when someone might be expressing thoughts of suicide on Facebook to empower NASA explore space communications, AI-based tools gained a definite momentum.

Microsoft pledged $50 million over the next five years to put AI technology in the hands of those who are working to mitigate climate change.

When it comes to India, AI started playing a significant role in not just developing smart devices but in improving engagement with end-consumers — be it government or corporates.

Aiming to reduce the possibilities of signals failing, Indian Railways introduced remote control monitoring of its system to predict failures through the effective use of AI.

The national transporter is using non-intrusive sensors for continuous online monitoring of signals, track circuits, axle counters and their sub-systems of interlocking, power supply systems including the voltage and current levels, relays and timers etc.

The system entails the collection of inputs on a pre-determined interval and sends this to a central location for data analysis.

Several financial institutions in India started adopting AI in automating their operational processes. AI is now helping banks build chatbots that are interacting with customers and gaining valuable data.

Since its launch in March, Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based chatbot ‘Eva’ — built for HDFC Bank by Bengaluru-based Senseforth AI Research — has interacted with over 530,000 unique users holding 1.2 million conversations and addressing their 2.7 million queries with ease.

Leading AI banking platform Payjo launched a chat assistant called SIA for the State Bank of India (SBI) that addresses customer enquiries instantly and helps them with everyday banking tasks just like a bank representative. SIA is able to handle nearly 10,000 enquiries per second or 864 million in a day. 

Watch-maker Titan also launched a chatbot to engage better with millennials on its e-commerce store.

According to a Genpact study, 88 per cent of senior executives at companies that are leaders in AI expect the technology will drive better customer experiences within three years.

“Indian businesses today are actively looking to AI and machine learning algorithms in a bid to smooth processes and make well-informed decisions. Businesses are harnessing AI to gain a competitive advantage and increase profitability in a global economy,” Makarand Joshi, Area Vice President and Country Head, India Subcontinent, Citrix, told IANS.

To explore the possibilities of putting AI into driving domestic economic transformation, the Commerce Ministry in August formed a 18-member task force that will explore possibilities to leverage AI for development across various fields.

Amid the thrust over AI, the country also realised the need to skill its workforce for the evolving technology trends.

Sensing the urgent need to train youth in the emerging field of AI, Intel India this year collaborated with 40 academic institutions, that are using the technology for scientific research, and 50 public and private organisations across e-commerce, healthcare, technology, defence and banking and financial services sectors.

Having trained more than 9,500 developers, students and professors across 90 organisations this year, the initiative is reducing AI entry barriers for developers, data scientists and students.

“AI capabilities are greatly supplementing humans to do great work in less time in sectors like healthcare, banking and finance, transport, energy and robotics, etc. It will be interesting to see how this whole AI thing evolves with time,” Bob Rogers, Data Scientist, AI and Analytics, Data Center Group at Intel, told IANS. 

Google has also come upfront and, along with technology learning platform Pluralsight and educational institution Udacity, announced a new scholarship programme that will help train 1.3 lakh developers and students across the country.

The scholarship would enable students gain access to advanced learning curriculum and further their employability in AI and other emerging technologies.

The growth of AI start-ups in the country is also driving the adoption not only for big companies but also for small and medium enterprises (SMBs).

“Technology like AI can not only play a big role in the supply-demand mismatch in India but empower rural people where health and education facilities are scarce. In order to do that, everyone needs to be connected first,” stressed Chandrakant Patel, Chief Engineer at HP Inc.

2017: Highlights

  • Facebook, Twitter deployed AI to flush out fake and terror-related content on their platforms

  • AI helped car makers focus on developing efficient autonomous vehicles

  • AI helped Indian banks build chatbots

  • Indian Commerce Ministry formed 18-member task force to leverage AI for development across fields

  • Intel India collaborated with 40 academic institutions to train developers, students and professors in AI

  • Google India announced a new scholarship programme to help train 1.3 lakh developers and students in AI technology

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