Tag: Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence – the new player influencing India’s geopolitics

Artificial Intelligence – the new player influencing India’s geopolitics

Artificial Intelligence: We are living in an era of global internet and intelligence and data sharing, that is potentially changing how the world functions. Post-Cold War, the global powers moved intentionally from traditional military focus and rivalry to gaining economic competency and growth. That was the time when the geopolitical standing of any nation was governed by its physical resources like oil. This remained the determining criteria of a country’s global standing for a long time until past decade that witnessed emergence of artificial intelligence as the new geopolitical tool. 

Artificial Intelligence is a magnificent tool that can improve agricultural yield, predict weather, forecast disease patterns and help control them, and also manage supply chain convolutions for essentialities of any nation like drugs, food and other basic products. The extent to which any country invests in its artificial intelligence impacts its global as well as regional footing. 

Recent years have seen AI and technology play a key role in framing strategic relationships and allies, along with diplomatic standing. India, as an emerging player in Asia and a global leader, too has been in great influence through AI as a key participant in the Quad strategic forum along with USA, Japan and Australia. This alliance is standing strong to counter the aggressive influence of China in Asia-Pacific region, as the Quad members have taken major technological and AI related initiatives. 

This year in October India entered an agreement with Japan regarding sharing and co-operation for AI along with other strategic fronts.  

United States is eyeing India as a strong ally in the region, standing opposite the common opponent China, while encouraging collaboration around technology and artificial intelligence as the focal point to create US-India Strategic Tech Alliance (UISTA). 

In June, India joined GPAI (Global Partnership for AI) as one of the founding members, along with other Quad nations. The alliance stands against China to counter its growth in technology. India as a member becomes a major geopolitical player in the region. 

India has an added advantage, that China lacks, placing it at a strong position – democracy and functioning constitution. These added gems with India can influence its AI policy, thereby influencing its role in GPAI and Quad and strengthening its establishment. 

India is actively making allies and forging new relationships through AI collaborations, something that is bound to benefit it in future. The current leadership ensures of putting nation’s strategic interest at a priority and thereby projecting it as a strong player in region and world. Furthermore, these collaborations are bound to ensure equitable outcomes to all participants, something which is important to seal allies. 

How Artificial Intelligence is influencing the consumer buying behaviour

How Artificial Intelligence is influencing the consumer buying behaviour

Our usual go-to stores have increasingly known our shopping list. This is often due to our online check-out baskets and also the loyalty cards we use at the cashier scanner while checking-out. But the retailers now are getting more aware, dominantly so, of our buying trend through the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

The software system is now influencing consumer buying behaviour. The self-learning software can learn to automatically predict and thereby influence and encourage our specific buying preferences and actual purchases in a dramatically aggressive winner. 

The remarkable AI can effectively build up a consumer profile for anyone and suggest product before they even realize whether they actually need it and end up buying it. The well known “you may also like” or “based on your history” sections we often see on our favorite shopping retailers. And before you know it, you are in the shop buying “your must try” wine on a weekend, just through influence of AI. 

Ubamarket is one such UK firm, that has made a shopping app. People can make their shopping list, scan products for ingredients and allergens and also pay using the phones. Founder Will Broome said, “Our AI system tracks people’s behaviour patterns rather than their purchases, and the more you shop the more the AI knows about what kinds of products you like.”

He further explains, “The AI module is designed not only to do the obvious stuff, but it learns as it goes along and becomes anticipatory. It can start to build a picture of how likely you are to try a different brand, or to buy chocolate on a Saturday.” The app is currently in collaboration with small-scale UK retailers like Spar, Budgens and Co-op. The take up of the app is speeding up, partly as the consumers are shopping more online due to coronavirus pandemic.

Similarly, in Germany, a Berlin-based start-up SO1 is using AI for retailers. A research done by SO1 claims that consumers buy a product nine times more through AI suggestion as compared to the traditional means of promotion. This is also consumer-friendly. Instead of buying a product just to use coupon, through AI suggestions consumer can buy a product that they may actually need.

But there is also a flip side to it. The massive amounts of user data that is being tracked and vast amount of information that are being collected by AI is a red flag, with always a probability of data misuse. Jeni Tennison, UK’s Open Data Institute head, that campaigns against misuse of data, says, “People are happy to be recommended products, but start to feel more uncomfortable when they are being nudged, or manipulated, into particular buys based on a caricature of who they are rather than the full complexity of their personality.”

The biggest name to data collection is Amazon, the online retailer that each one uses frequently. The massive user information it has through shopping history, and also Echo speakers, is beyond comprehension. The giant is now heading into physical retailing market, based on AI based computer vision technology. This will enable people to shop physically at its stores without any human interaction. Already 27 US locations of these Amazon stores are up and running. Kroger, another US retailer, is working on smart shelves fitted with LCD displays in its stores. The feature will attract customers through its “beam contextualized content”.

The pandemic has deeply affected the consumer trends across the globe. As people have panic bought things and have focused on essential things more, the supply-demand balance has been highly disturbed. Artificial Intelligence will work in this scenario to bring balance and keep in sync the demand and production, and hence keep the stock levels as required.

In South Korea, artificial intelligence is monitoring the health of the elderly
Asia Pacific Focus

In South Korea, artificial intelligence is monitoring the health of the elderly

The country is starting to channel its success in controlling the pandemic through technology into other aspects of healthcare.

South Korea was at one point an epicentre of the coronavirus. But with aggressive testing and extensive use of technology, they have been able to fight back. They have been lauded as a success story globally and this has also made their citizens more malleable to sharing their health data. This is apparent in the new enterprises springing up, like an experimental remote care service, where senior citizens are monitored 24/7 by voice-enabled smart speakers. This has especially become very popular since South Korea has an aging population, many of whom are poor and isolated from their families due to the virus.

Currently more than 3,200 people around the country have opted for this service, most of them are over 70 and living alone. The speakers listen to them throughout the day, monitoring for signs of danger while also using search words to look out for indications of loneliness or insecurity. The in-built artificial intelligence Aria also processes voice commands that can be used to look up news, music or general search. The devices can also quiz the residents to test their memory and cognitive functions, which can be used in recommending treatments.

Further, social workers who can also tap into the app if necessary and make calls or visits when something abnormal is detected or the device hasn’t been used in more than 24 hours. The government has exhibited keen interest in such technology as it can maintain quality welfare services for the elderly without the need for too much human involvement.

This is of course fraught with privacy concerns but the South Korean government is keen to allow businesses to access such information because they see data-driven enterprises providing a major boost to the pandemic-battered economy. Privacy activists and medical professionals who have been resisting such regulations so far have also been over-ridden by the mass adoption of such devices and apps in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic this year.

The public is now accustomed to handing over private health data for the benefit of both themselves and the community at large. Since the outbreak the government has been using mobile phone data, CCTV cameras and credit card records to find potential virus carriers. Tracking apps have been used to monitor quarantined individuals and the location history of patients have also been made publicly available.

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