Hyderabad: Leading the promotion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) from the front, IT and Industries Minister K T Rama Rao emphasized the need for AI to improve the lives of common people. He felt that AI will serve as a powerful tool that will provide innovative solutions to traditionally difficult and near impossible issues faced by governments.

“Any technology that is not used to improve the lives of common people is of least relevance,” he quoted Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao, adding that the focus of the State should be on using the latest technologies to improve the life of the common man.

Participating in a panel discussion on ‘IT is now about Intelligence Technology’ at the NASSCOM Xperience AI Virtual Summit, the Minister said the AI decision support systems will help the government in planning data-driven policy interventions in governance, food systems, security, healthcare, education, and beyond. In the COVID scenario, he stated that technology has become central to both governance and growth. “Tackling the pandemic and its associated economic challenges has been a top priority for all states, and AI has played a crucial role here,” he added.

Further, the Minister stated that the COVID-19 Data Platform deployed in association with NASSCOM was one example of smart and data-driven governance which enabled the government to make timely decisions on augmenting medical capacities and systematic unlocking of specific industries.

Rama Rao explained that special programmes were ideated and initiatives were planned to build the AI-oriented talent pool in the State with several initiatives focusing on students, faculty, and working professionals. He emphasised the need for collaboration between government, academic and industry to reap the benefits of AI technology and ensure benefit to the common man.

Explaining the usage of AI in agriculture, the Minister said the Telangana government was pioneering the idea of ‘Regulated Farming’ as an integral feature of agricultural practices, to promote market demand-based cultivation. He said plans are afoot to integrate the initiative with the AI4AI (Artificial Intelligence for Agricultural Innovation) project. He felt that in the current COVID scenario, AI was likely to lead to many benefits in the field of education as well.

Talking about the ‘2020 – Year of AI’ initiative, Minister KT Rama Rao stated that the government has partnered with several reputed organisations from industry and academia including World Economic Forum, INtel, IIIT, Public Health Foundation and many other such organisations. He said the State government was being extremely cautious about data usage in AI-related projects and taking utmost precaution to protect data privacy. “There is an urgent need for a discussion on data use in government’s governance. The Telangana government already made comprehensive information on various departments available to the public under its open data policy,” he explained.

The Minister stated that the Telangana State Innovation Cell (TSIC) was currently working on strengthening the social innovation ecosystem in the State. “T-Social Startups Network (TSSN), under the Telangana State Innovation Cell (TSIC) and anchored by AIC-IIITH, as a dedicated platform for stakeholders for the Social Innovation Ecosystem will amplify the overall impact and focus on social innovation and social impact in the State. It also acts as a forum to introduce enablers and Social Startups to each other and outside players,” he added. He said T-Hub as well as Research and Innovation Circle Hyderabad (RICH), will anchor several AI Innovation cohorts in-state priority sectors.

Lauding the initiatives of the Telangana government, NASSCOM President Debjani Ghosh said Telangana State has a political leadership that has a deep understanding of AI and promised to support the State government on behalf of NASSCOM to make progress in AI technology.

Rama Rao also released the NASSCOM-EY India CXO Survey Report at the summit. Emerging Technologies Director Rama Devi also participated in the summit.

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