What is Artificial Intelligence?

In 1956, John McCarthy officially coined the term Artificial Intelligence (AI), which was defined as "the science and engineering of making intelligent machines." After a brief lull, termed as 'AI Winter,' when all progress relating to its development had virtually stalled due to technological limitations and shortage of funds, AI started its second innings in the 2000s. Since 2010, AI is progressing well thanks to improvement in computing powers, data volume, and advanced algorithms.

When people talk about AI, they often consider its negative aspects and its ability to destroy the world, as shown in big-budgeted Hollywood movies. However, all of these talks are misleading, which often frightens us about an unlikely future. On the other hand, AI is seen to fundamentally change the labor market through intelligent automation of many routine tasks that humans usually perform.

The goals of artificial intelligence include learning, reasoning, and perception. An AI-based machine is programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions with the help of learning and problem-solving on their own. The basic expectation from an AI-based software is that it should make humans' work easier by using its ability to rationalize and take actions that have the best chance of achieving a specific goal.

However, the applications for artificial intelligence are endless; I have provided some of the applications below. The technology is being applied to many different sectors and industries. AI is being tested and used in the healthcare industry for dosing drugs and various treatment methods in the patients and for surgical procedures in the operating room. Other examples of machines with artificial intelligence include computers that play chess and self-driving cars. However, as technology advances, previous benchmarks that defined artificial intelligence become outdated. For example, machines that calculate basic functions or recognize text through optical character recognition are no longer considered to embody artificial intelligence, as the task is now taken for granted as an essential computer function.

In the following articles, I emphasize the need to introduce AI in India as soon as possible. I have also provided articles on current as well as potential applications of AI in the future.

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Intelligent Agriculture

Agriculture

Bill Gates rightly noted that "Investments in agriculture are the best weapons against hunger and poverty, and they have made lives better for billions of people." With more than 43.2% of India's total workforce working in the Agriculture Sector, its contribution to India's GDP is as low as 16%. However, at the same time, the service sector, employing just 32% of the total workforce, contributes 54% to the GDP. Thus the need to ameliorate overall farm productivity with the help of intelligent softwares has arrived.

Why Should Artificial Intelligence be Introduced In Agriculture Sector?

With annual suicides increasing every year, the government should help the farmers by introducing AI in this field. Farmers cannot produce enough from their lands and are not capable of competing in the market. AI can assist them by increasing their overall farm produce, which would eventually lead to higher revenue. Although some technological advancements in the agriculture sector have already taken place, not every farmer has taken advantage of them due to the lack of knowledge and high operational cost. The application of AI across the agriculture sector could act to be an apotheosis of the shifting of traditional farming practice today.

How Can Artificial Intelligence Aid Indian Agriculture?

Pest attacks are an inimical thing to happen; the traditional way of spraying fertilizers also proves to be ineffective as overusing them can lead to soil and water pollution. Sensor-based monitoring systems for early pest detection can provide inputs which can be processed through the Internet of Things (IoT) to make intelligent decisions. This will enable the farmer to scrupulously use the correct pesticides and herbicides, which would eventually increase the overall crop health and eliminate the risk of overuse of chemical fertilizers.

Changing rainfall patterns disturb the crop yielding time and have an antagonistic effect on crop health. Satellite images can be analyzed to understand crop distribution, climate change, and make precise predictions about the crop yielding time.

To eliminate one of the major problems faced by Indian farmers, i.e., water supply, intelligent irrigation systems must be installed in farms that would selectively water the field, monitor the soil's moisture, and make accurate decisions about the moisture requirements of the soil.

Intelligent UV light-emitting lamps regulating the amount of light intensity, light duration, and lighting spectrum given to the plants must be installed in areas that receive scarce sunlight annually.

How Should the Government Implement AI in Agriculture?

The government can provide results of the satellite images and sensor-based monitoring systems for early pest detection and climate change to the farmers via newspapers and articles. The government must provide education in universities to promote the use of automated technologies in the coming years.

In a country like India, implementing AI in Agriculture on a large through private vendors is practically impossible because of its exorbitant cost. However, since AI is the need of the hour, delaying it would slow down India's Agricultural growth. Therefore, the government must incentivize private vendors to subsidize the price or spearhead the widespread implementation of this technology in the agriculture sector. Since AI promises to improve the sector's productivity by X%, it must be introduced at the earliest to support the livelihood of X million farmers in the country.

 

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