Why India needs AI to work for agriculture, healthcare and education

Why India needs AI to work for agricultu...

Nishant Arora

While the Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is making its presence felt across the spectrum globally, India needs to prioritise AI-based predictive analysis to improve outcomes in three core areas -- agriculture, healthcare and education, a top Microsoft executive has emphasised.

The initial results in India are promising and if deployed at big scale, AI-based models can help farmers, doctors and educators keep building success stories, Joseph Sirosh, Corporate Vice President of Cloud AI Platform at Microsoft, told IANS here.

"For example, AI can help us foresee signs of a student being at risk of dropping out. We have done first such experiment in Andhra Pradesh involving thousands of students," Sirosh informed.

In 2017, the Andhra Pradesh government expanded the rollout of the experiment to all 13 districts in the state.

In Visakhapatnam district, an application powered by Azure Cloud Machine Learning (ML) processed the data pertaining to all students -- based on parameters such as gender, socio-economic demographics, academic performance, school infrastructure and teacher skills -- to find predictive patterns.

The results showed that some of the factors leading to students dropping out were insufficient furniture, inadequate toilet infrastructure, etc.

Based on these results, the state government identified about 19,500 probable dropouts from government schools in Visakhapatnam district in the next academic year (2018-19).

"Not just India, AI-based predictive analysis has also helped Tacoma School District here in Washington state improve graduation rate from under 60 per cent to over 83 per cent by managing dropouts," Sirosh noted.

When it comes to agriculture, Microsoft, in collaboration with the non-profit International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), has developed an AI-sowing app for farmers in India.

The tech giant is using AI and historic weather data to predict the best time for sowing seeds and other stages of the farming process, and pass on that information to farmers via SMS.

"We have done some amazing work, like informing farmers when to sow crops, what is the best time to plant crops during the year, etc. The result is 30 per cent more yield," Sirosh told IANS.

The farmers do not need to install any sensors in their fields or incur any capital expenditure. All they need is a mobile phone capable of receiving text messages.

To determine the optimal sowing period, the Moisture Adequacy Index (MAI) is calculated. MAI is the standardised measure used for assessing the degree of adequacy of rainfall and soil moisture to meet the potential water requirement of crops.

The data then is downscaled to build predictability and guide farmers to pick the ideal sowing week.

According to Microsoft, ICRISAT has scaled sowing insights in 2018 to 4,000 farmers across Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka for the Kharif crop cycle (rainy season).

"We have made AI-based applications very simple for common people to comprehend. They don't need to be tech-sophisticated. We have simplified the technology for the end-users," Sirosh added.

The company has also developed a multi-variate agricultural commodity price forecasting model to predict future commodity arrival and the corresponding prices.

The model uses remote sensing data from geostationary satellite images to predict crop yields through every stage of farming.

According to the company, the model, currently being used to predict the prices of "tur" pulse, is scalable and can be generalised to other regions and crops.

On the health front, the Telangana government has adopted Microsoft Intelligent Network for Eyecare (MINE), which was developed in partnership with Hyderabad-based LV Prasad Eye Institute.

MINE uses ML and advanced analytics to predict regression rates for eye operations, enabling doctors to pinpoint the procedures needed to prevent and treat visual impairments.

"Under the MINE global consortium, we have built AI models that are very accurate for eyecare, especially for children," Sirosh said.

The Telangana government is using Microsoft's Cloud-based advanced analytics solution to screen children from birth to 18 years of age for major conditions affecting their health.

"We are also working hard to improve citizen services in India by creating user-friendly application programming interfaces (APIs) for enhanced speech recognition and translation solutions," Sirosh added.

People are just starting to understand the power of AI-enabled Cloud in India.

"Our partners like TCS, Wipro, Infosys, Cognizant and Accenture are leaning in and adopting AI. These are exciting times for AI and its real adoption in the country," Sirosh said.

 


PostedOn: 16 May 2018 Total Views: 66




Yanny or Laurel? It’s your brain not you...

Yanny or Laurel? It’s your brain not your ears tha...

As a speech scientist, I never thought I’d see so much excitement on social media about one tiny little word. What do you hear?! Yanny or Laurel pic.twitter.com/jvHhCbMc8I — Cloe Feldman (@CloeCouture) May 15, 2018 As a speech scientist, I never thought I’d see so much excitement o...

20 May 2018

Smart wristbands, rings allow users to t...

Smart wristbands, rings allow users to type with g...

Scientists have developed smart rings and wristbands that can allow users to type on mobile devices using hand gestures. Using acoustic chirps emitted from a ring and received by a wristband the system is able to recognize 22 different micro finger gestures that could be programmed to various comman...

18 May 2018

Samsung Galaxy J6 with Infinity Display ...

Samsung Galaxy J6 with Infinity Display to launch ...

South Korean giant Samsung is hosting an event to launch a couple of new phones for the Indian market on May 22. This information has been revealed by official sources and the phones can be purchased from the very next day. These new devices are likely to be theSamsung Galaxy J6and possibly one more...

18 May 2018

Apple is bringing accessible coding to s...

Apple is bringing accessible coding to schools for...

With an aim to offer students with disabilities an opportunity to learn the language of technology, Apple is bringing an accessible coding programme to schools serving the blind and deaf communities, first to the US and then to more schools around the world. Beginning this autumn, US schools support...

18 May 2018

Instagram to soon tell users how much ti...

Instagram to soon tell users how much time they sp...

Facebook-owned Instagram could become the latest app to let the users know how much time they spent on its site if one goes by the report from one of the researchers. This user found the function within Instagram’s Android app and interestingly, Instagram officially responded by confirming thi...

18 May 2018

Facebook rolls out several India-first f...

Facebook rolls out several India-first features fo...

This could come as a surprise to many. Multinational companies, particularly the American ones, would normally introduce new concepts and features in the US market and then duplicate them in other markets, particularly in India. But Facebook, which boasts of a membership of 217 million in India, is ...

18 May 2018

Facebook allows advertisers to target se...

Facebook allows advertisers to target sensitive us...

Just a few days ahead of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect, a Guardian investigation has found that Facebook lets advertisers to target users it thinks are interested in sensitive subjects such as homosexuality, Islam or liberalism. Religion, sexuality...

17 May 2018

Government’s electric vehicle push: Prop...

Government’s electric vehicle push: Proposes setti...

This might sound like music to the ears of electric car makers. The government wants to have one electric vehicle charging station every 3km in major cities, where the population is more than a million and every 50kms on the highways, according to areportquoting a government official. If the plan to...

17 May 2018