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Tech Giant Google Funds Six AI-based Projects in India

Google Research India is based out of Bengaluru and will be part of and support Google's global network of researchers

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Google Research India is based out of Bengaluru and will be part of and support Google's global network of researchers. Pixabay

Google on Tuesday started six Artificial Intelligence (AI) based research projects in India that would focus on addressing social, humanitarian and environmental challenges in sectors like healthcare, education, disaster prevention and conversation.

Google Research India will provide each team with funding and computational resources in addition to supporting the efforts with expertise in computer vision, natural language processing, and other deep learning techniques, the company said in a statement.

“We are increasingly seeing people apply AI to address big challenges. Therefore, we have made research in AI for Social Good one of the key focus areas of Google Research India — the AI lab we started in Bengaluru last year in September,” said Manish Gupta, Director, Google Research Team, India.

Among the six projects are improving health information for high HIV/AIDS risk communities from team from IIT Delhi led by Tavpritesh Sethi, team from Singapore Management University led by Pradeep Varakantham and nonprofit Swasti.

Researchers from IIT Madras led by Balaraman Ravindran and nonprofit Armman will use AI to predict the risk of expectant mothers dropping out of healthcare programmes, to improve targeted interventions and increase positive healthcare outcomes for mothers and their babies.

The team from Singapore Management University led by Arunesh Sinha and nonprofit Khushibaby will apply AI to help ensure consistency in how healthcare information is captured and monitored.

Another team from Singapore Management University led by Pradeep Varakantham along with nonprofit Wildlife Conservation Trust will use AI to predict human-wildlife conflict in the state of Maharashtra to help inform data-driven policy making.

The team of Nanyang Technology University led by Bo An and nonprofit Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology & The Environment will apply AI to inform dam and barrage water releases, to help build early warning systems that minimise risk of disasters.

Google
Google on Tuesday started six Artificial Intelligence (AI) based research projects in India that would focus on addressing social, humanitarian and environmental challenges in sectors like healthcare, education, disaster prevention and conversation. Pixabay

The last team from AI4Bharat and IIT Madras led by Mitesh Khapra and Pratyush Kumar along with nonprofit Storyweaver will build open-source input tools for underserved Indian languages to accelerate publishing of openly licensed content.

“We look forward to supporting academic researchers, organisations and the broader community over the coming months and years to bring these projects to life,” said Milind Tambe, Director, AI for Social Good, Google Research Team, India.

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Google Research India is based out of Bengaluru and will be part of and support Google’s global network of researchers. (IANS)

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India’s Lockdown Disrupts Functioning of Amazon and Flipkart

Amazon India Delivery and functioning of Essential Goods via. E-commerce companies Disrupted

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Virus Outbreak Amazon
India's coronavirus lockdown is disrupting e-commerce companies including Amazon and Flipkart. Pixabay

India’s coronavirus lockdown is disrupting e-commerce companies including Amazon and Flipkart, despite government assurances it would not, four sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Differing state and district level regulations relating to the 21-day lockdown, which began on Wednesday, are hindering operations, the sources said on Friday, with e-commerce firms finding it difficult to get curfew passes for delivery staff.

The disruptions highlight the difficulties of ensuring the supply of essential goods to 1.3 billion people during the shutdown in India, which has so far reported 724 cases of coronavirus and 17 deaths. Most of Amazon’s 60 plus fulfillment centers in India are shut and the U.S. company is in talks with state authorities to try to reopen them, three of the sources said. Industry executives say local authorities have not followed guidelines, stopping deliveries and warehouses from operating.

Virus Outbreak Amazon
A sign is lit on the facade of an Amazon fulfillment center. VOA

“It’s worse than one can think,” one source said, while a second added that only a “miniscule” number of Amazon warehouses were operating, citing this as a key reason for disruptions. Even when operations do begin to return to normal, it will only be in major cities, the second source added.

Amazon said in a statement that its top priority was to deliver the products which customers need the most and it was seeking urgent help from federal government and local authorities with detailed on-the-ground operating procedures. In New Delhi, Amazon’s Pantry service was suspended and the delivery slot for essential goods, such as oil and soaps, was shown as being April 26.

“There are clear guidelines provided by Government to enable essential services, and so we are working with the relevant authorities to ensure we are able to operate,” Amazon said on Twitter in response to questions from users in India.

Indian trade minister Piyush Goyal held a meeting with e-commerce executives on Thursday and said the government was “committed to ensuring that essential goods reach the people.”

Also Read- Effects of Quarantine on Mental Health and Relationships

Walmart-owned Flipkart has also been hit, with some grocery items which had been available earlier on Friday in New Delhi intermittently going out of stock. A source familiar with the situation said Flipkart was facing challenges with last-mile delivery of goods once they leave its warehouse due to restrictions on movement.

Flipkart said in a statement it had resumed grocery operations and there was a significant spike in orders. “We are enhancing capacity to meet the increase in customer requirements,” it said, adding it had received support from local and federal authorities.  (VOA)