This week, we have Krishna Prabu of NASSCOM CoE DS & AI discuss at length how technologies like Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning are no longer just exclusive skills to possess but a necessity in today’s rapidly changing digital world.
In the past decade, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning has influenced all aspects of our daily lives. In Bharath, Transactions considered Traditional and Lowtech like Street vending too have shifted to digital platform like BHIM.
Age old practice of Agriculture today is impacted by Weather monitoring and Prediction.
In Health care, a camera tipped probe attached to Smartphone can send the Image of Ear canal of a patient to a Cloud system. Computer vision, using Deep Neural networks that run on Graphic processors analyse the high resolution image to infer the type of infection in the ear. Thus a 1st level ENT diagnosis can be done remotely.
Computer vision also have enabled Self driving cars that are currently at Level 3 Self drive capability (requires driver presence to take over in case of deviation) and Level 4 autonomy will be a reality in the next 2-3 years and a Level 5 (read a Car with no steering wheel) autonomy in the next 5-10 years.
While the Hardware capability for Level 5 autonomous vehicle is already conceived and deployed today, it is another 1-2 years for the AI algorithms to achieve full autonomous driving capability.
From the above few examples, it is inevitable that the skill sets required by professionals today are fundamentally shifting. And the scale of its impact covers the entire spectrum of professions starting from Agriculturalist, Small vendors, Retail supply chain, Financials, Medical and Healthcare with Technology and Engineering being at the core.
It is no more enough, for example an Electrical or Computer Science engineer to just know their specialised subjects. Or for a Medical practitioner, knowledge of just the Human anatomy and related areas will not make him effective. Advancements in the field of Medicine is possible through High Tech equipment like the MRI scanners, Lasers, Software systems and we will see more of embedded Software running sophisticated Mathematical algorithms making these machines much more intelligent.
At the heart of all these Technologies, AI & ML is getting embedded and will be playing a pivotal role.
The skills for the future calls for a combination of deep knowledge of respective Domain, Applied Mathematics and understanding of the enhanced means to deliver them. Breaking down to the fundamentals, it calls for a combined knowledge of Advanced Mathematical models, Electronics, Computer science.
The above have an impact on the kind of knowledge students have to acquire in Schools and Colleges.
It is inevitable that professionals across all walks of life adopt AI systems for benefit of their own and our society at large.
From a population of 700 million in early 1980s, India is heading towards a population of 1.68billion by 2060. With no policy intervention or political will to address this white elephant in the room, this projection will be inevitable. (Refer: https://ourworldindata.org/indias-population-growth-will-come-to-an-end)
As per the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) annual report of 2012, 21.92 % of the population were below the poverty line. While various initiatives are taken to lift as many out of poverty as possible, it seems the population is increasing at a higher rate than the rate at which we manage to lift people out of poverty.
See impact of Climate change on environment and internal migration of human populations. (Refer: https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2018/12/21/year-in-review-2018-in-14-charts)
An increase of 1.5 deg centigrade in global temperature is estimated the maximum threshold to sustain a comfortable living environment for humans and majority of living beings on earth. And scientists warned these estimates are not conservative by any means. (Refer: https://www.ucsusa.org/our-work/global-warming/science-and-impacts/global-warming-impacts)
This calls for ambitious action to reverse damage done to environment, which implies spur in renewable energy, and sun-setting of Non-renewable energy economy.
The stress our population explosion will bring on our depleting Natural resources and the environment can be catastrophic if not managed properly. This can be turned into our asset if and only if we manage the transition properly with a elevated sense of urgency.
To top it, there is a massive fundamental shift in the traditional professions that feeds our millions. Change is inevitable to support such a demand.
The scale at which the basic goods and services needs to be produced and delivered to this boosted population is possible only by embracing and leveraging AI and related technology at all levels of society.
In Bharath, our lingering legacy of colonial education, have left the education imparted at Schools and Colleges non-aligned with our current and future needs. And so, now is a good time to not only shed the legacy but also revamp the way we approached education and prepared for future.
The next part of this series, I will try to cover the Impact of AI&ML on Industry and Jobs in India and explore possible risks, opportunities and possible proactive actions like policies, skill, research etc., which may help us to be self sufficient and self reliant while working towards a greener future.
#RaiseYourIQ is the newest content series from NASSCOM Center of Excellence. If you are at the forefront of innovation in India or are working on changing the innovation paradigm, write to firstname.lastname@example.org