Tuesday April 23, 2019

AI App With Microsoft Azure to Tackle Malnutrition in India

The new app will hugely impact the early identification of children suffering from malnutrition, thereby reducing the treatment time

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Sanjay Mehta
The children of families in Saranda, Jharkhand suffer from malnutrition and malaria. Sanjay Mehta

Germany-based non-profit Welthungerhilfe has developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) smartphone app, powered by Microsoft Azure, to tackle malnutrition in India.

The Child Growth Monitor — a cloud-based app powered by Microsoft Azure and AI services — can detect malnutrition and enable health workers to identify and provide care to children suffering from chronic undernourishment.

By March, the app will help health workers scan 10,000 children under the age of five for signs of malnutrition, across Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

Twelve teams of 150 trained health workers have been provided app-enabled smartphones to collect the data of children, it added.

The app uses an infrared sensor available in some smartphones to capture 3D measurements of a child’s height, body volume and weight ratio, as well as head and upper arm circumferences down to the millimetre.

Representational image showing a malnutrition ridden child.

The app loads that captured data into Microsoft Azure. Nutritionists and IT specialists then evaluate the scans by using Microsoft AI solutions, pinpointing a child’s dietary health.

“Today, more than 800 million people around the world suffer from hunger. You can’t solve hunger if you don’t know where the hungry people are,” said Jochen Moninger, Innovation Director at the Welthungerhilfe.

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“The Child Growth Monitor app will emerge as a recognised, global solution among humanitarian organisations. In India alone, that could free up hundreds of millions of dollars for reinvestment into the lives of children,” he added.

The new app will hugely impact the early identification of children suffering from malnutrition, thereby reducing the treatment time. (IANS)

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AI, Social Media Regulation Find Prominence in Poll Manifestos

The poll manifestos suggest that irrespective of the parties that could come to power for the next five year, there will be no halt in the digital journey that the country has embarked on

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Representational image.

Going by the poll manifestos published by major political parties, the use of digital technology is likely to get a boost under the new government that will come to power after the Lok Sabha election results on May 23.

While most political parties have promised greater implementation of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data and Blockchain technologies to drive the growth of the economy, some have also assured punishment for those who misuse digital and social media.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which pushed digital transactions in a major way during its five-year rule ending this year, said it would further increase the ongoing incentives to expand digital transactions if voted to power again.

The BJP said it would create a new data-sharing framework that builds on the success of ‘Jan Dhan’ and Aadhaar platforms while ensuring data privacy and security. “With this scheme, we will ensure that every Indian has access to banking facilities within a radius of 5 km,” the BJP manifesto said.

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by the BJP faced severe criticism from the Opposition for the use of Aadhaar biometric identification system in distribution of benefits to the people. They followed up the criticism in their manifestos as well.

While the Congress promised an amendment to the Aadhaar Act in order to restrict its use, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said it would push for scrapping of the use of Aadhaar and biometrics for all social welfare measures if voted to power.

The Congress manifesto even devoted a section on ‘Digital Rights of Every Citizen’ to affirm “its belief that every Indian shall enjoy digital rights and freely access the digital world.”

From promising access to all persons to high-quality Internet at affordable rates, to passing a law to protect the personal data of all persons and uphold the right to privacy, the Congress is promising the common man quite a lot of digital benefits.

applications
This from March 27, 2019, shows the Grindr icon on a phone. This week, the Committee for Investment in the United States reportedly directed Beijing Kunlun Tech to divest itself of Grindr, a gay dating app, because of concern the data it collects could be used for blackmail. Pixabay

“We will establish a National Mission focused on sunrise technologies such as Big Data, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, 3-D Printing and Manufacturing, and Knowledge Networks,” read the Congress manifesto.

The BJP manifesto promises a “Science Mission” with two submissions, focused on Artificial Intelligence and robotic research. The BJP’s ‘Sankalp Patra’ also puts a lot of emphasis on using technology for helping farmers and improving agricultural output.

“We will enable development of young agri-scientists to take advantage of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain technology, Big Data analytics etc. for more predictive and profitable precision agriculture,” the BJP said.

While adoption of digital technologies has increased dramatically over the years, the poll manifestos of the political parties also suggest that stricter regulations for social media could be in the offing.

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The Congress, which was earlier linked to hundreds of fake Facebook pages and accounts, said it would pass regulations to stop the spread of fake news and hate speech and punish those who misuse digital and social media.

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) went a step ahead and stated that if voted to power, it will urge the Union government to bring in a law to prevent all types of social media from publishing any kind of obscene content.

The poll manifestos suggest that irrespective of the parties that could come to power for the next five year, there will be no halt in the digital journey that the country has embarked on. (IANS)