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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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Mark Zuckerberg Wants To Sell Up To 75 Million Facebook Shares

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Facebook
Source: Wikimedia Common

San Francisco, September 24, 2017: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he wants to sell 35-75 million Facebook shares in the next 18 months to fund the company’s work in education, science, and advocacy.

“Over the past year and a half, Facebook’s business has performed well and the value of our stock has grown to the point that I can fully fund our philanthropy and retain voting control of Facebook for 20 years or more,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post.

He said his wife Priscilla and he feel a responsibility to do their part to address global challenges — like curing all diseases in their children’s lifetime and personalising education for every student.

ALSO READ:Social Media Giant, Facebook Introduces Ad Performance Measurement Solutions

He also asked the company’s board to withdraw the proposal to reclassify the stock that he proposed to create last year.

The idea of the proposal was that it would allow Zuckerberg to keep voting control of Facebook so the company can continue to build for the long term and allow Priscilla and him to fund the work the were doing through the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. (IANS)

 

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Social Media Giant, Facebook Introduces Ad Performance Measurement Solutions

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Facebook brings the developers of 'tbh' app to share and expand a common goal of making stronger communities. Pixabay

San Francisco, September 24, 2017: In a bid to provide brands way to compare advertisements performances, Facebook has introduced new measurement solutions that will enable advertisers to see the impact of their ad campaigns on the social networking platform and TV.

Facebook, in collaboration with data measurement firm Nielsen, launched “Nielsen Total Brand Effect with Lift” solution through which advertisers can interpret their cross-platform results, the company said in a statement late on Friday.

The solution leverages Nielsen’s expertise in television measurement and its database of television programming to poll for TV ad exposure. The results are delivered independently by the company.

The product is currently available to eligible advertisers via their Facebook representative in the US and the UK and will be available in Australia by the end of the year.

ALSO READ: Facebook to take safety measures against Online Suicide Challenges

The social media giant is also working on a solution “Facebook Cross-Platform Brand Lift”, which will offer polling and results from cross-platform brand lift measurement for ads on Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network.

The tool, which may be available to advertisers in early 2018, will also provide self-serve reporting, including that of Facebook usage during commercial breaks. (IANS)

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Indian Travellers Emerging as Key Market for America: Brand USA

According to Brand USA, India ranks 11th in international visitors and also represents the sixth biggest spender with $13.6 billion registered last year

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Brand USA
Sean Donohue, CEO, Dallas Fort Worth Airport Richard Fain, Chairman & CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Christopher L Thompson, President & CEO, Brand USA. Wikimedia

Sep 17, 2017: The Indian outbound traveller is now a much-coveted commodity around the world, as the country’s booming middle class seeks new destinations and emerges as a key market.

The Indian market has set a new record as 1.17 million tourists visited the US last year, according to Brand USA, the nation’s first public-private partnership to promote the United States as a travel destination.

“Brand USA has reached the million visitor mark from India, we expect much more growth. This year has seen our largest delegation of our Brand USA India mission with nearly 40 organisations, we actually had a waiting list of people wanting to tap the indian market. And that really shows the importance that India has,” Suzana Shepard, Manager Global Trade Development Brand USA, said during a branding event organized by Brand USA representative Sartha Global Marketing in New Delhi.

In February, Brand USA inaugurated the US-India travel and tourism partnership year in Delhi, led by the US Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO). The NTTO had forecast a 72 per cent increase in arrivals from 2015 through 2021.

While business travelers and family visits have been the norm so far, more Indians travel to less visited states and try new activities involving adventure and thrills.

“Indians are big consumers of adventure activities and this is exactly what we got in Nevada for them. The US is very much a road trip destination and there is so much to see, different landscapes, just like in India I guess but with a different decor, different people and a great melting pot of cultures,” said Claudia Vecchio, Director of the Department of Tourism & Cultural Affairs in Nevada.

According to Brand USA, India ranks 11th in international visitors and also represents the sixth biggest spender with $13.6 billion registered last year.

“There is really a great opportunity, only one per cent of the population has a passport and there is a growing middle class. It leaves room for a lot development,” Shepard said.

The increasing number of direct flights from India by national carrier Air India has also helped in catering to the tourists’ demand, the latest being Delhi-Washington DC. A couple of years ago, Air India also added San Francisco to its other non-stop flights to New York, Chicago and Newark. The carrier is said to be evaluating a direct flight to Los Angeles as well.

“With the non-stop service from India, San Francisco Airport has seen the traffic back and forth to India grow by 10 per cent, said Melissa Andretta, Director of International Marketing at San Francisco International Airport.

“The United States has always been a prime destination for Indian tourists, the country being home to an important Indian diaspora. We are seeing a lot of FITs coming, a lot of Indian weddings celebrated in Washington DC where an important Indian origin population lives. You can even celebrate Indian festivals like Diwali just like you would do in India as the city organises special decorations and festivities,” said Yi Lu, International Sales Manager at Destination DC.

On the recent visa restrictions on Indian travellers to the USA, Shepard said that they had no impact on the tourism to India and that Indians are warmly welcomed by many Americans. (IANS)