India is currently at an inflection point in the adoption of AI: Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India
Envisioning the potential of AI for India, and continuing in its mission to empower India, Microsoft detailed the country’s readiness for AI in a whitepaper titled ‘Age of Intelligence’. Focusing on making India a digital economy, with modern mobile infrastructure, skilling up the workforce, and reduced data costs and cross-industry collaboration will make for an environment conducive to extend information connectivity and digital services to the underserved segments of the population, Microsoft said in a whitepaper on AI, unveiled at the NASSCOM Technology and Leadership Forum (NTLF) 2019.
The whitepaper titled ‘Age of Intelligence’ outlines challenges and opportunities with respect to AI and how balanced and forward looking government policies, technological advancements including growing internet penetration and connectivity will help reap benefits of digital transformation in years to come. Furthermore, Microsoft calls for the technology industry to actively partner and engage to help realize India’s global aspirations in AI, given that many of the initiatives outlined therein need technology as the backbone to achieve scale, efficiency and sustainability. Cloud infrastructure and rapid deployment of intelligent cloud services will play a key role in driving AI adoption and benefits in the country.
Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India said “Our ambition is to enable a human-centered approach to AI. India is currently at an inflection point in the adoption of AI. Building on the four foundational pillars – enabling digital transformation across industries, forging coalitions for innovation, building a future-ready workforce and creating sustained societal impact will unlock and accelerate the potential of AI. All of this should be done within an over-arching ethical framework for AI development and usage.”
In this paper, Microsoft presents an industry point of view on the ‘Age of Intelligence’ that this world is embarking upon, wherein intelligence will be experienced in every facet: in products and services, in the way individuals communicate, how organizations function and collaborate, and how society and countries evolve. Microsoft AI is a vision for empowerment – for every developer to innovate, every organization to redefine industries and every individual to transform societies.
Microsoft is democratizing AI and is making the technology used in building its own AI applications available on Azure to empower developers and institutions in solving their most difficult problems.
For instance, a challenge in India relates to inclusion- given India’s linguistic diversity and literacy. This results in a digital language barrier, with services not being easily accessible to all citizens. AI is playing a key role in removing this barrier, by enabling voice recognition, text to speech and translation for all key Indian languages. Once that is fully available, all services can be offered to all citizens, in the language of their choice. Microsoft is closely working with developers to bring these services to all major Indian languages.
Enterprises can achieve far more with a comprehensive AI infusion to every application, every business process, and every employee productivity tools. AI enables organizations to make better-informed decisions by making it easy to derive insights from data, helping them expand and improve customer engagement & experiences, optimize operations, and improve offerings. Reimagining business processes with AI also makes work more efficient, saving employees time so they can focus on higher priorities.
Healthcare sector will be transformed through effective use of analytics driven insights decoding the complex data available, which so far remained a significant challenge worldwide. Microsoft has enabled analytics-driven personalized treatment plans based on a patient’s genetic makeup, medical history, lifestyle, along with cloud-based solutions to empower healthcare organizations and help them build and deploy compliant, virtual health assistants can provide users with conversational and engaging access to the most relevant and accurate healthcare services and information.
For instance, Narayana Health is looking at new avenues to optimize its operations and augment patient care with technology. One of the ongoing projects being piloted internally is to use Artificial Intelligence to decipher X-Rays to point out any irregularities from a normal X-Ray, which would help doctors save time in diagnosis.
AI tools enable governments to connect with their citizens more effectively, eliminate waste, deliver public services, and protect sensitive information. Microsoft’s Smart Cities – Intelligent technology and Citizen services tools are designed to tackle common challenges such as fee and toll management, traffic optimization, and sustainability as well as help provide citizens with easier access to consolidated government services through tracking, search, and conversational bots.
Technology is creating unprecedented opportunities to connect students to the world around them and help them realize their full potential. Teachers, administrators, and technology innovators are collaborating to solve some of the most pressing challenges in education through AI. Microsoft’s AI is helping in enhancing accessibility in the classrooms and providing school-wide AI insights into student success and risk across entire schools or school districts and help educators make informed decisions on how to improve students performance at scale.
As India surges forward with its digital transformation, large and small organizations – both public and private – are waking up to the power of cloud computing, data analytics and intelligence. They are already beginning to use the transformative power of the cloud to improve their lives and businesses.
AI is a powerful tool for increasing access to information, education, employment, government services, as well as social and economic opportunities.
In its work to deploy AI, Microsoft is working with policy think tanks and research organizations such as NITIi Aayog (National Institute for Transforming India) and ICRISAT and industry bodies such as CII & NASSCOM in creating and adopting frameworks to accelerate AI-led digital transformation across sectors, particularly agriculture, health, education and skilling. This will help frame the guard rails of where and how AI should be used to instill trust and responsibility across AI-based systems.
India is digitally ready for a comprehensive AI framework aligned to industries long-term strategy. With the size of the market and opportunity for growth it’s imperative to implement AI for India that brings economic, societal and inclusive growth. Microsoft is best positioned to address the current AI needs and ready to support all stakeholders across the entire spectrum including government, businesses, and communities by collaborating with them to accelerate all AI opportunities to drive critical growth for India’s progress.
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