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Indian Policy Commission organises fourth lecture series on AI

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the fourth edition of the NITI Lecture Series focussed on ‘leveraging artificial intelligence for inclusive growth’ on 22 October.

According to a press release, the Prime Minister will attend the lecture series in which the keynote address will be delivered by Mr Jensen Huang, president and co-Founder of US-based technology firm NVIDIA Corporation.

The Policy Commission of India, that is the National Institute for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), introduced the 2018 theme for the lecture series: ‘AI for All: Leveraging Artificial Intelligence for Inclusive Growth’ as part of the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence. The National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence intends to develop a robust and technologically forward ecosystem in India for AI research and adoption.

Over the last couple of years the IT services industry in the country played an important role in the development of its economy, and as reported earlier was responsible for 7.7% of India’s GDP in 2016. In light of this, earlier this year, launched an AI-focused research programme.

In the document that was released in June, NITI Aayog said that India has a significant stake in the AI revolution and the organisation has adopted a three-pronged approach to creating a national AI strategy. It consists of undertaking exploratory proof-of-concept (POC) AI projects in various areas, crafting a national strategy for building a vibrant AI ecosystem in India, and collaborating with experts.

NITI Aayog has partnered up with several leading AI technology players this year to implement AI projects in the agriculture and healthcare sectors. Learnings from these projects and its engagement with leading institutions have helped develop an effective national strategy for AI.

Union Ministers, policy makers, experts from the industry, along with the NITI Aayog vice chairman, CEO, members and other senior officials will attend the event, the press release said.

The Union Budget 2018 had mandated the NITI Aayog to come up with a national programme to implement artificial intelligence towards national development.

NITI Aayog said it has inked statements of intent (SoI) with industry leaders to leapfrog India into global arena of future technologies and enable the use of AI in sectors of social development — healthcare, agriculture, smart mobility, education and infrastructure.

It has launched a number of projects in areas of precision agriculture, creating AI led healthcare solutions, and bridging India’s diversity of languages by creating a digital ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’ (One India, Best India) space using Natural Language Processing (NLP).

The NLP is a system of protocols which allow machines or computers to understand and interact with human speech and symbols.

The release also noted that NITI Aayog has identified barriers that need to be addressed to achieve success in the use of artificial intelligence with the aim to use the technology across all sectors.

It plans to set up a Centre of Research Excellence (CORE) to focus on developing a better understanding of existing core research. NITI Aayog is set to establish an International Centres of Transformational AI with a mandate to develop and deploy application-based research in collaboration with private players.

The ‘NITI Lectures: Transforming India’ was inaugurated by the Prime Minister in August 2016 featuring prominent speakers from across the world.

The first keynote address ‘India and the Global Economy’ was delivered by the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam. Mr Bill Gates, Co-Founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, delivered the second lecture in November 2016, and in May 2017, Mr Michael Porter, the Bishop William Lawrence University Professor at Harvard Business School, had delivered the third lecture of the series.

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