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Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered Smart Devices and Solutions will actually assist people Intelligently

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New Delhi, May 20, 2017: As artificial intelligence (AI)-powered smart devices and solutions gather momentum globally amid fears of “bots” taking over jobs soon, a top Adobe executive has allayed such fears, saying AI will actually assist people intelligently.

“Saying AI will take over the creativity of humans is not right. It will take away a lot of stuff that you have to do in a mundane way. A human mind is a lot more creative than a machine,” Shanmugh Natarajan, Executive Director and Vice President (Products) at Adobe, told IANS in an interview.

“With AI, we are trying to make the work easier. It is not like self-driving cars where your driver is getting replaced. I think creativity is going to stay for a long time,” Natarajan added.

Market research firm Gartner recently said that CIOs will have a major role to play in preparing businesses for the impact that AI will have on business strategy and human employment.

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Global enterprises like Adobe are now betting on India to boost AI in diverse sectors across the country.

The company has a massive set-up in India, with over 5,200 employees spread across four campuses in Noida and Bengaluru and its R&D labs claim a significant share of global innovations.

According to Natarajan, a lot of work related to AI, machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) is being done in Adobe’s India R&D Labs.

“The way we have structured our India labs is very similar to how larger companies have structured it. There are separate lab initiatives and areas, including digital media, creative lab, Big Data and marketing-related labs and, obviously, document is a big part and we have labs associated with it as well,” the executive said.

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“With the Cloud platform, we are trying to provide a framework where people with the domain expertise can come and set their data and machine learning algorithms in play and then train the systems and let the systems learn,” Natarajan explained.

Speaking on the significance of India R&D labs, Natarajan said earlier the R&D labs were focused on North America where scientists used to come in from esteemed universities.

With India becoming a crucial market for research and development, Adobe started its data labs in Bengaluru under the leadership of Shriram Revankar.

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“Nearly 30 per cent of our total R&D staff is here. Apart from other works, we file patents. Every year, Adobe India has been filing nearly 100 patents from a global perspective. We have eight patents coming in soon,” Natarajan told IANS.

Interestingly, a big part of “Adobe Sensei” — a new framework and set of intelligent services that use deep learning and AI to tackle complex experience challenges — was developed in India.

On why there is a technology gap between India and other developed economies in terms of use of concepts like AI, machine learning and IoT, Natarajan said that people underestimate the country.

“The transitions and generational things might not be at the same level and sophistication, or the pace as compared to other countries, but here, the changes are dramatic,” Natarajan told IANS.

“Everyone has a smartphone now and people have figured out that they can speak to their smartphones and retrive data. The data may be small as compared to 100 trillion that Adobe gets, but it is a Cloud and IoT device. People are interacting with them and machine is learning from this,” the executive noted.

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Diesel Exhaust Converted Into Ink by Indian Innovators To Battle Air Pollution

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

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representational image. VOA

Supervised by young engineers, workers at the start-up company Chakr Innovation in New Delhi cut and weld sheets of metal to make devices that will capture black plumes of smoke from diesel generators and convert it into ink.

In a cabin, young engineers pore over drawings and hunch over computers as they explore more applications of the technology that they hope will aid progress in cleaning up the Indian capital’s toxic air – among the world’s dirtiest.

While the millions of cars that ply Delhi’s streets are usually blamed for the city’s deadly air pollution, another big culprit is the massive diesel generators used by industries and buildings to light up homes and offices during outages when power from the grid switches off – a frequent occurrence in summer. Installed in backyards and basements, they stay away from the public eye.

“Although vehicular emissions are the show stoppers, they are the ones which get the media attention, the silent polluters are the diesel generators,” says Arpit Dhupar, one of the three engineers who co-founded the start up.

The idea that this polluting smoke needs attention struck Dhupar three years ago as he sipped a glass of sugarcane juice at a roadside vendor and saw a wall blackened with the fumes of a diesel generator he was using.

It jolted him into joining with two others who co-founded the start-up to find a solution. Dhupar had experienced first hand the deadly impact of this pollution as he developed respiratory problems growing up in Delhi.

An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.
An Indian girls holds a banner during a protest against air pollution in New Delhi, India, Nov. 6, 2016.

A new business

As the city’s dirty air becomes a serious health hazard for many citizens, it has turned into both a calling and a business opportunity for entrepreneurs looking at ways to improve air quality.

According to estimates, vehicles contribute 22 percent of the deadly PM 2.5 emissions in Delhi, while the share of diesel generators is about 15 percent. These emissions settle deep into the lungs, causing a host of respiratory problems.

After over two years of research and development, Chakr has begun selling devices to tap the diesel exhaust. They have been installed in 50 places, include public sector and private companies.

The technology involves cooling the exhaust in a “heat exchanger” where the tiny soot particles come together. These are then funneled into another chamber that captures 70 to 90 percent of the particulate matter. The carbon is isolated and converted into ink.

Among their first clients was one of the city’s top law firms, Jyoti Sagar Associates, which is housed in a building in Delhi’s business hub Gurgaon.

Making a contribution to minimizing the carbon footprint is a subject that is close to Sagar’s heart – his 32-year-old daughter has long suffered from the harmful effects of Delhi’s toxic air.

Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.
Motorists drive surrounded by smog, in New Delhi, India, Nov. 8, 2017.

“This appealed to us straightaway, the technology is very impactful but is beautifully simple,” says Sagar. Since it could be retrofitted, it did not disrupt the day-to-day activities at the buzzing office. “Let’s be responsible. Let’s at least not leave behind a larger footprint of carbon. And if we can afford to control it, why not, it’s good for all,” he says.

At Chakr Innovation, cups, diaries and paper bags printed with the ink made from the exhaust serve as constant reminders of the amount of carbon emissions that would have escaped into the atmosphere.

There has been a lot of focus on improving Delhi’s air by reducing vehicular pollution and making more stringent norms for manufacturers, but the same has not happened for diesel generators. Although there are efforts to penalize businesses that dirty the atmosphere, this often prompts them to find ways to get around the norms.

Also Read: Exposure to Traffic-Related Pollution Poses Threat of Asthma in Kids

Tushar Mathur who joined the start up after working for ten years in the corporate sector feels converting smoke into ink is a viable solution. “Here is a technology which is completely sustainable, a win-win between businesses and environment,” says Mathur. (VOA)