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‘Artificial Intelligence yet to make its mark in India’

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By Nishant Arora

From taking care of businesses to fulfilling personal needs, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is very much a part of the daily lives of people across the globe with global technological giants judiciously utilizing its benefits. However, it has yet to make a mark in India.

When Amit Singhal, an India-born techie who joined Google nearly 15 years ago practically reigning at Google Search since then, decided to quit this month and hand the baton over to the head of the technology giant’s artificial intelligence (AI) chief, the message was clear: AI was the future that had arrived.

Amid all the brouhaha over machines acquiring near-human intelligence, is India ready to embrace the change?

“For the Indian market, we might see some serious AI in action around 2020, and by 2025, there should be considerable advancements,” Faisal Kawoosa, lead analyst, Telecoms Practice, at market research and consulting firm CyberMedia Research (CMR), told reporters.

According to Thomas George, SBU Head of CMR, there were several studies projecting AI becoming mainstream within five years. “However, this appears possible only in the high-end segments in the advanced and developed markets and not in India,” he added.

According to a latest forecast by the research firm MarketsandMarkets, the AI market is estimated to reach $5 billion by 2020 globally. “The increasing use of machine learning technology in the advertising and media and finance sectors, and the growing demand for AI across diversified application areas are driving the growth of the AI market,” the findings showed.

In India, the top-notch technology companies are yet to make a substantial progress in the business of AI.

While Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has Ignio — a neural science-based automation platform that optimises IT operations, Infosys has recently launched AiKiDo project that will focus on AI, knowledge-based IT and design thinking to help enterprise clients.

Wipro, on the other hand, has an AI platform “Holmes”- a rich set of cognitive computing services for the development of digital virtual agents, cognitive process automation, visual computing applications, robotics and drones. To fulfill its AI dreams, Wipro recently acquired a strategic stake in Vicarious, an AI company based in San Francisco, California.

But this does not seem enough when it comes to the practical application of AI in the country on a large scale. “Although industry circles have been talking about AI for more than a decade, it is yet to make its mark in India,” George said.

Globally, Microsoft, Google and Facebook are leading the way when it comes to incorporating AI into the workplace — transforming the experience of “machine learning” via “deep neural networks” of hardware and software that nearly approximate neurons in the human brain.

“Machine intelligence is crucial to our search vision of building a truly intelligent assistant that connects our users to information and actions in the real world,” Google said in a statement recently.

John Giannandrea, who led Google’s machine learning efforts and is going to replace Singhal, is applying the technology to products such as image recognition for Google Photos search and the smart reply for Google Inbox.

In a cheer for the AI community, Google’s AlphaGo, a program of its artificial intelligence arm DeepMind, recently defeated the reigning human champion of Go – a complex Chinese board game that is considered the “quintessential unsolved problem” for machine intelligence.

At Facebook, its CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to focus on AI and is even thinking of a simple AI to run his home and workplace like the famous Jarvis character in the Hollywood movie “Iron Man”.

According to Chris Bishop, managing director at Microsoft Research, 2016 will be the year of AI. “During 2016, we will see the emergence of new silicon architectures that are tuned to the intensive workloads of machine learning, offering a major performance boost over GPUs (Graphics Processing Units),” he posted.

In his first “Ask Me Anything” session on the social networking website Reddit last year, famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking said that we evolved to be smarter than our ape-like ancestors and scientist Albert Einstein was smarter than his parents.

“If they become that clever, then we may face an ‘intelligence explosion’, as machines develop the ability to engineer themselves to be far more intelligent,” he said in reply to a question on the discussion board.

That might eventually result in “machines whose intelligence exceeds ours by more than ours exceeds that of snails”, Hawking answered.

That may be a daunting task for people to absorb. But perhaps human intelligence will evolve to do just that. (IANS) (Image source: digitaltrends.com)

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Facebook clarifies how it collects data when you’re logged out

Facebook is embroiled in a widening scandal that a British data firm called Cambridge Analytica improperly gathered detailed information on its 87 million users

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Facebook was accused of leaking data to Cambridge Analytica earlier this year.

After Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of the US Congress last week, the company on Tuesday tried to clarify on questions how it collects data when people are not directly using the website or app.

Many websites and apps use Facebook services to make their content and ads more engaging and relevant.

facebook
The social media app is in news for all the wrong reasons lately. VOA

“Apps and websites that use our services, such as the Like button or Facebook Analytics, send us information to make their content and ads better,” David Baser, Product Management Director at Facebook, wrote in a blog post.

In return for that information, Facebook helps those websites serve up relevant ads or receive analytics that help them understand how people use their services.

“When you visit a site or app that uses our services, we receive information even if you’re logged out or don’t have a Facebook account. This is because other apps and sites don’t know who is using Facebook,” Baser added.

Many companies offer these types of services and, like Facebook, they also get information from the apps and sites that use them.

“Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn all have similar Like and Share buttons to help people share things on their services. Google has a popular analytics service. And Amazon, Google and Twitter all offer login features,” Facebook said.

These companies — and many others — also offer advertising services. When you visit a website, your browser (for example Chrome, Safari or Firefox) sends a request to the site’s server. The browser shares your IP address so the website knows where on the Internet to send the site content.

The website also gets information about the browser and operating system (for example Android or Windows) you’re using because not all browsers and devices support the same features.

Also Read: Google Home To Be Your Best Friend Now

“It also gets cookies, which are identifiers that websites use to know if you’ve visited before. This can help with things like saving items in your shopping cart,” Facebook explained. “So when a website uses one of our services, your browser sends the same kind of information to Facebook as the website receives. We also get information about which website or app you’re using, which is necessary to know when to provide our tools,” Baser noted.

There are three main ways in which Facebook uses the information it gets from other websites and apps.

“Providing our services to these sites or apps; improving safety and security on Facebook; and enhancing our own products and services,” Baser said.

“We also use the information we receive from websites and apps to help protect the security of Facebook. For example, receiving data about the sites a particular browser has visited can help us identify bad actors,” he posted.

Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay
Facebook needs to fix itself. Pixabay

Zuckerberg, appearing before the US Congress last week, told the lawmakers that his own personal data was part of 87 million users’ that was “improperly shared” with British political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica.

“We don’t sell the data. We use the data that people put into the system in order to make them more relevant. I believe people own their content,” he told the US Congress.

Facebook is embroiled in a widening scandal that a British data firm called Cambridge Analytica improperly gathered detailed information on its 87 million users. IANS