Citizens' Issues
India still not ready for Artificial Intelligence
New Delhi : At a time when the global technology giants are set to leverage the benefits of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for your daily lives -- from taking care of businesses to fulfilling your personal needs -- India seems to be reluctant to get on to this bus.
 
When Amit Singhal -- an India-born techie who joined Google nearly 15 years ago practically reigning at Google Search since then -- decided to quit this month and hand the baton over to the head of the technology giant's artificial intelligence (AI) chief, the message was clear: AI was the future that had arrived.
 
Amid all the brouhaha over machines acquiring near-human intelligence, is India ready to embrace the change?
 
"For the Indian market, we might see some serious AI in action around 2020, and by 2025 there should be considerable advancements," Faisal Kawoosa, lead analyst, Telecoms Practice, at market research and consulting firm CyberMedia Research (CMR), told IANS.
 
According to Thomas George, SBU Head of CMR, there were several studies projecting AI becoming mainstream within five years. "However, this appears possible only in the high-end segments in the advanced and developed markets and not in India," he added.
 
According to a latest forecast by the research firm MarketsandMarkets, the AI market is estimated to reach $5 billion by 2020 globally. "The increasing use of machine learning technology in the advertising and media and finance sectors, and the growing demand for AI across diversified application areas are driving the growth of the AI market," the findings showed.
 
In India, the top-notch technology companies are yet to make a substantial progress into the business of AI.
 
While Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has Ignio -- a neural science-based automation platform that optimises IT operations, Infosys has recently launched AiKiDo project that will focus on AI, knowledge-based IT and design thinking to help enterprise clients.
 
Wipro, on the other hand, has an AI platform "Holmes" -- a rich set of cognitive computing services for the development of digital virtual agents, cognitive process automation, visual computing applications, robotics and drones. To fulfill its AI dreams, Wipro recently acquired a strategic stake in Vicarious -- an AI company based in San Francisco, California.
 
But this does not seem enough when it comes to the practical application of AI in the country on a large scale. "Although industry circles have been talking about AI for more than a decade, it is yet to make its mark in India," George said.
 
Globally, Microsoft, Google and Facebook are leading the way when it comes to incorporating AI into the workplace -- transforming the experience of "machine learning" via "deep neural networks" of hardware and software that nearly approximate neurons in the human brain.
 
"Machine intelligence is crucial to our search vision of building a truly intelligent assistant that connects our users to information and actions in the real world," Google said in a statement recently.
 
John Giannandrea, who led Google's machine learning efforts and is going to replace Singhal, is applying the technology to products such as image recognition for Google Photos search and the smart reply for Google Inbox.
 
In a cheer for the AI community, Google's AlphaGo, a programme of its artificial intelligence arm DeepMind, recently defeated the reigning human champion of Go - a complex Chinese board game that is considered the "quintessential unsolved problem" for machine intelligence.
 
At Facebook, its CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to focus on AI and is even thinking of a simple AI to run his home and workplace like the famous Jarvis character in the Hollywood movie "Iron Man".
 
According to Chris Bishop, managing director at Microsoft Research, 2016 will be the year of AI. "During 2016, we will see the emergence of new silicon architectures that are tuned to the intensive workloads of machine learning, offering a major performance boost over GPUs (Graphics Processing Units)," he posted.
 
In his first "Ask Me Anything" session on the social networking website Reddit last year, famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking said that we evolved to be smarter than our ape-like ancestors and scientist Albert Einstein was smarter than his parents.
 
"If they become that clever, then we may face an 'intelligence explosion', as machines develop the ability to engineer themselves to be far more intelligent," he said in reply to a question on the discussion board.
 
That might eventually result in "machines whose intelligence exceeds ours by more than ours exceeds that of snails", Hawking answered.
 
That may be a daunting task for people to absorb. But perhaps human intelligence will evolve to do just that.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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NIA seeks Internet data of Islamic State suspects
New Delhi : The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has sought the help of various Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to obtain the data used by arrested Islamic State suspects.
 
The suspects had extensively used various social media sites, including WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter, to recruit and promote the ideology of the terrorist outfit in India.
 
According to sources, the NIA, while seeking the remand of the suspects on Tuesday, told a court here that the suspects also used Internet and Internet-based services such as Telegram, KIK and Surespot.
 
This was in pursuance of a larger conspiracy, and was aimed at identifying and facilitating recruitment of members and promoting the activities the global terror outfit.
 
The NIA said the request to obtain the data was being forwarded to the ISPs under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) for criminal matters, the sources told IANS.
 
It said the information was required, and the accused needed to be in custody to verify the facts that emerge from the contents of the internet-based services used by the accused to communicate with their associates.
 
According to the sources, many electronic gadgets, including laptops, tablets, mobile phones, SIM cards, memory cards and pen drives, used by the accused had been seized from them after their arrests on January 29.
 
These were forwarded on February 4 to forensic analysts of the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team.
 
During in-camera proceedings on Tuesday, District Judge Amar Nath allowed the NIA to quiz the three accused -- Sheikh Azhar-Ul-Islam alias Abdul Sattar Sheikh, Mohammed Farhan alias Mohammed Rafiq Shaikh and Adnan Hassan alias Mohammad Hussain -- till February 19.
 
While Sheikh Azhar hails from Jammu and Kashmir, Farhan and Hassan are residents of Maharashtra and Karnataka, respectively.
 
According to the sources, NIA told the court that custodial interrogation of the accused had led to pointers about links amongst them and their associations with the Islamic State.
 
All three were presented before the court with their faces covered after the expiry of their police remand.
 
"During questioning, the accused disclosed that they are active supporters of Islamic State and remained in close contact with several active members of the IS using internet, telephone and other means of communications."
 
Defence counsel M.S. Khan opposed the NIA plea to extend their custody, saying the agency had sufficient time to interrogate the accused.
 
The three have been booked for criminal conspiracy and under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
 
The NIA added that the trio was involved in a conspiracy to identify, motivate and radicalise recruits and train Indians located both in India and other countries.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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International card cloning gang member held in Delhi
New Delhi : A 25-year-old member of an international credit and debit card cloning gang has been arrested here for cheating many people across India by withdrawing money from their accounts, police said on Tuesday.
 
Pankaj Bhardwaj, a resident of Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, was arrested on Monday from the India Gate area in a joint operation by Delhi and Mumbai police.
 
"Members of the card cloning gang are spread across Dubai, Mumbai and Delhi," Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Ravindra Yadav said.
 
Mumbai police came to know about such a gang active in Dadar area after it received several complaints from Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and some southern states that money was being withdrawn from the accounts of some people through different ATMs.
 
"Following the complaint, Mumbai police recently arrested a man named Nisar from Dadar when he was withdrawing money from an ATM. More than 20 cloned ATM cards were recovered from him," the officer said.
 
Mumbai police sought assistance from Delhi Police when it knew that Nisar used to send cash to a man named Sumair Sheikh through a 'hawala' operator based in Delhi.
 
"We identified the local hawala operator as Pankaj Bhardwaj and arrested him," the officer said.
 
Bhardwaj told interrogators that he used to receive the amount sent by Ansari and some other gang members on behalf of Sheikh, who stays in Dubai.
 
At the instance of Sheikh, interrogators said Bhardwaj used to buy bitcoins -- a cryptographic, digital and experimental currency introduced in the digital world in 2008 -- and transfer the same online to Sheikh who encashed it.
 
Bhardwaj used to get a handsome share from this amount, the officer said.
 
The value of one bitcoin is equivalent to Rs.24,633, the officer said.
 
"Sheikh would procure data of debit and credit cards through his sources and his associates in Mumbai cloned the cards, withdrew the money and forwarded the amount after keeping their share to Delhi through hawala for him.
 
"But instead of receiving the amount directly, Sheikh would ask Bhardwaj to collect the money from the Hawala operator," the officer said.
 
Bhardwaj admitted to have forwarded bitcoins equivalent to more than Rs.30 lakh to Sheikh in last 4-5 months.
 
He recently received Rs.14 lakh from Mumbai and forwarded bitcoins of Rs.5 lakh to Sheikh. Police recovered Rs.8 lakh from his house.
 
Bhardwaj works at Secure Bitcoins Traders Pvt. Ltd. in Pitampura in west Delhi as an operations manager.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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