Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain for Efficient Public Services Delivery

Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain are two of the most talked about topics in the field of technology today, capable of being both significant enablers as well as disruptors. From education and healthcare to disaster management and agricultural productivity - A.I. and Blockchain will remodel the way we deliver public services to lay-people – faster, more efficiently, more reliably, and in a trustworthy and transparent manner.

On the 17th of December 2018, Ananta Centre and KPMG India organized the first of a series of seminars focusing attention on the two of the most critical emerging technologies of our time – Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and Blockchain. The objective of these seminars is to discuss the potential of applying A.I. and Blockchain to the problem of improving the efficiency of public services delivery in India across various domains and platforms.

Consensus through Dialogue

Most narratives concerned with these innovations focus their attention to specialists and technocrats, and, even though the impact of these technologies will be far-reaching and touch nearly every life, knowledge and understanding about them remains the purview of the few.

It is for this reason that the Ananta Centre partnered with KPMG in India and decided it was the need of the hour to develop a platform where this kind of highly technical knowledge could be translated and shared with a broader cross-section of stake-holders. And when we are talking about technologies like A.I. – which promise to transform and recreate the way we organize our lives in a fundamental way – we are all stake-holders – this is the premise behind the organization of this timely series of seminars.

Ananta Centre has always believed in the power and efficacy of solutions derived through dialogue and consensus. We have also maintained our commitment towards fostering values-based leadership across various disciplines and domains – to catalyze positive transformation in the Indian society. We engage key stake-holders and serve as a convening body for the exchange of ideas - broadening perspectives and enhancing capacity to create sustainable solutions on a wide variety of issues. It is in the same spirit that we convene this gathering of intellectuals and stalwarts from the realm of emerging technologies.

Objectives and Aims

The objective for organizing this seminar is threefold. Firstly, it is to educate and spread awareness regarding emerging technologies so that the widest cross-section of Indians may take advantage of these – so that generalists and not only specialists may be able to comprehend these highly technical issues.

Secondly, our objective is to convene innovators and thought-leaders so that progressive agendas concerning these technologies may be developed and shared widely. In fact, the inaugural programme included a series of case-study presentations designed to highlight the application of A.I. and Blockchain to the betterment of public service delivery – applications which will serve to enhance the quality of life of the many – not just of the few.

Thirdly, with KPMG India as knowledge partner, Ananta Centre plans to publish a white paper highlighting the use of A.I. and Blockchain for efficient public service delivery. These technologies have the potential to transform how governments and social service agencies deliver public services, and Ananta Centre aims to provide a blueprint for the same.

In-Depth Case-Studies to take A.I. from Theory to Practice

Each session of the Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain for Efficient Public Services Delivery series will offer participants an opportunity to familiarize themselves with some of the most cutting-edge applications of A.I. and Blockchain to public service delivery. We therefore invite our speakers to present break-through case-studies highlighting the best and most successful applications of emerging technologies to the most practical uses. 

The inaugural session set the standard of these explorations. The issues selected for the inaugural seminar were those which would have a tremendous impact on India’s socio-economic outcomes – education, healthcare, water, and the primary sector were the principal focus domains this time around.

The inaugural case-study session showcased six interesting applications for A.I. and Blockchain, with the focus of this seminar leaning towards A.I. The fields of application explored were Agriculture (touching upon intelligent irrigation, remote-sensing, agri-lending and sustainability); Medicine and Life Sciences (focusing on Pharma Co-Vigilance and drug-safety-testing); Education (focusing on intelligent interactive app platforms where content is delivered via digital avatars of teachers and influential personalities), and Water (conservation and sustainable management  through A.I.)

Free-wheeling Dialogue and Panel Discussions

The Ananta-KPMG seminar on Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain for Efficient Public Services Delivery also features dedicated sessions aiming to offer a broad-based and free-wheeling discussion and debate on salient issues around A.I. and Blockchain.

The inaugural panel discussion featured a quartet of accomplished technologists and data scientists. The superlative content of this session paid special attention to the question of ethics and morality in the use of cutting-edge technologies. We also examined the close connection between human biases and the biases that our machines inherit (Garbage-In, Garbage–Out).

Tell Me More

Ground breaking advances like A.I., Machine Learning, Neural Nets, Blockchain based on cryptographic protocols, Additive Manufacturing and even the ever-elusive Quantum Computing – these technologies have the potential to fundamentally reshape how our society works and how it is organized. With near-universal applicability, these technologies can be expected to have wide-ranging repercussions in our day-to-day life.

To further this conversation is therefore a matter of utmost importance and Ananta Centre is committed to providing an apolitical and unbiased platform for the same. If India commits herself and her vast pool of talent to developing expertise in these emerging technologies, then the India of the future will be a far better place for it – and prosperity is sure to follow.