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How AI can revolutionize healthcare in India

2023 will likely go down in history books as a watershed year in the application of artificial intelligence, what with OpenAI’s ChatGPT hitting 100 million monthly active users — making history — and Meta open-sourcing ImageBind AI, that aims to mimic human imagination and perception. If insights from studies and reports are to be believed, AI could be the principal driver of innovation in years to come and the primary technology vehicle through which the world will derive value from data.

Even as the world utilises AI in different applications ranging from defence to self-driving cars to robotics, in the Indian context, AI is being projected as a technology for all. The Indian government is aiming to leverage AI, predominantly for inclusive development and social empowerment, to improve manufacturing, productivity, and healthcare, and enable new agricultural technologies and power sustainability.

Here’s a look at the uses for AI and its potential to contribute to the Indian economy.

The use of collaborative bots (or cobots), working in close proximity with humans in manufacturing is on the rise. These AI-powered smart bots can perform single or multiple sets of tasks, improving productivity and efficiencies. Computer vision AI-based inspection technologies have been crucial in increasing safety, efficiency, and quality in manufacturing, by analysing anomalies in machinery, product defects, and inventory levels, helping avoid disruptions using cognitive computing. As India strengthens its manufacturing prowess to attract MNCs who wish to diversify from their Chinese manufacturing bases, these technologies will witness newer applications in the country.

AI further helps factories perform tedious tasks such as data entry and order processing, identify inefficiencies in equipment and hidden patterns in workflows, anticipate possible disruptions in supply chain, and optimise everything from product quality and production to design and operations.

One of the most critical challenges for the Indian agricultural sector is increasing efficiency and productivity and feeding our rising population. By helping transition the traditionally labour-intensive sector to a technology-aided one, AI is transforming agriculture and contributing to overcoming challenges. From checking the health of crops and soil testing, to deploying quality controls and tillage estimation, farmers are increasingly using innovative, AI-powered solutions, often through smartphone apps, to improve their crop yield in a sustainable manner.

According to estimates, there are more than 1,000 agritech start-ups in the country, many of which are providing innovative agriculture applications based on AI. These smart applications allow the sector to better track the quantity and quality of the yield, seamlessly manage supply chain and warehousing, predict possible disruptions from weather and pests, and improve overall productivity and efficiencies.

It was during the Covid-19 pandemic that India witnessed the true potential of AI in healthcare. While hospitals and doctors used technology to identify lung damage in patients during the second wave and even predict mortality rates in particular types of patients, healthtech start-ups collaborated with government bodies for screening and monitoring Covid-positive patients.

AI will continue to have disruptive applications in healthcare. AI-based predictive analytics can help spot patterns, identify patients at risk of diseases and disorders such as heart anomalies and diabetes, and anticipate patient outcomes. Combined with IoT, the technology has the potential of offering personalised medical support, identifying vital signs through smart devices, increase doctor-patient connectivity to boost medical preparedness in emergencies, and even reduce in-person visitors by allowing continuous, remote monitoring and diagnostics.

AI-based education models have the power to transform our education sector, plagued by age-old classroom models, shortage of teachers, and geographic disparities. Technology can help streamline the system, offer critical support to teachers, develop personalised, inclusive, accessible education models, simplify online assessments, and automate evaluations.

Furthermore, AI applications can help track student outcomes, using past data and performance records, enabling timely intervention to improve future performance. They can assess the skills and quality of teachers, helping education centres take better decisions, and help gauge dynamics such as gender representation and social demographics in education centres.

Mobility and transportation
The deployment of AI is expected to usher in a fundamental shift in transportation, especially in urban mobility. AI technologies show promise in making transport safer for both drivers and pedestrians, reduce cost as well as the environmental footprint, and improve overall efficiencies. By leveraging Big Data and offering insights to commuters and facility managers, these systems can enhance the driving experience on roads and enable monitoring and seamless management of traffic.

Using AI, map applications can study historic traffic patterns on roads, predict congestion in localities, and help commuters and transporters plan ideal routes, which not only result in cost and time savings, but decreased carbon emissions. Not to mention, scientists predict that autonomous vehicles — driven by AI — will reduce fatalities and greatly enhance road safety.

Smart cities and smart infrastructure
AI technology has incredible potential in smart cities and modern infrastructure. Indian cities — home to around 40% of the total population by 2030, and integrated with smartphones, IoT devices, sensors, smart vehicles, cameras, and commuting systems — will essentially be data goldmines.

By mining and utilising Big Data from these networks, technologies like AI can identify challenges and provide smart solutions to address complex infrastructure problems of urban ecosystems. Infrastructure planning and development, financial and resource management. Service delivery can be improved phenomenally, make cities more efficient, sustainable, and liveable for people.

Even as data centres can have a substantial environmental footprint of their own, use of AI can enable smart solutions for sustainable development and help reduce the footprint of various sectors. From AI-based detection models for the presence of arsenic in drinking water, to IoT devices for monitoring water supply in villages, to sustainable and efficiently distributed water in Bengaluru, use cases for AI in environmental sustainability are already on the rise.

AI applications can help in smart energy use by balancing demand and supply in real time, across geographies and endpoints such as industries, homes, and offices. Synced with IoT, it can optimise energy consumption in smart homes. Smart grid networks powered by AI use data and information such as solar and wind conditions to efficiently distribute energy. By improving global productivity, inclusion, and equality and helping monitor and evade environmental impacts, AI will continue to help realise various sustainable development goals. BQ Prime

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