‘India’s strength in AI is the amount of data available’

Mirza Mohammed Ali Khan New Delhi | Updated on July 17, 2019 Published on July 17, 2019

Huma Abidi, Director, Machine Learning/Deep Learning Software Engineering, Intel Corporation

Huma Abidi, Director, Machine Learning/Deep Learning Software Engineering, Intel Corporation, spoke to BusinessLine about artificial intelligence and India’s strength. Excerpts:

What is your perspective on artificial intelligence (AI) in India?

In general, I would say it is similar to what is happening globally. Maybe it will take a little longer for various reasons, but we have to build up on the strength that India has. And one of the main thing is the amount of data that is available. Intel India is the second-biggest R&D for Intel. The number of AI start-ups in India... that is all giving a lot of hope. I wouldn’t say India is different from the AI revolution that is happening; it is a part of it.

Where do you see India right now when it comes to harnessing this (data) potential?

I think it is positioned very well. It is too early for me to make specific comments. From Intel’s perspective, we have started. It is not at the same place as we have in other places, but I think we are moving forward. In India, education and understanding of AI is very important.

How do we encounter problems associated with AI and what are the checks and balances that can be broadly talked about?

Almost everybody who is doing AI work is now thinking about how to encounter them (problems). The Stanford University recently created a department for ethics and compliance. It is basically involving the government, there are many consortiums... almost all major companies are becoming part of that, making sure that everybody is conforming and any neural network that will be deployed has to follow those rules. The starting point is that all major companies, government have to come to an agreement that this model cannot be deployed unless it meets certain criteria.

In India, in the absence of government regulations , does the initiative fall on the companies?

Yes, if you are deploying a model it is absolutely your responsibility . The onus is on the person using it. One good thing about AI is the open source. With AI, people are building over each other’s breakthroughs. They are putting the models on Github (a software development platform) for people to share.

Have you identified focus areas in India where you can work on?

All Nivruti Rai (Country Head, Intel India) and I talked about was we are going to work together. At this point we have only talked at the high level. We are very excited.

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Published on July 17, 2019
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