“Smart City is no doubt one such initiative where we will get to see a lot of AI enabled technologies”

Sukanya Mandal

Sukanya Mandal

Artificial Intelligence and its application in our daily life is a hot topic of discussion, with pros and cons being looked at and worked upon in a major way. Recently IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, released its survey report Generation AI:  A Study of Millennial Parents of Generation Alpha Kids’, which shows how generation alpha – those born in 2010 and through 2025, and most tech-infused – will be impacted with ubiquitous presence of latest technology and smart devices in their lives. The report looks at how AI will have an effect on the quality of life of people in the coming years.

Main 3 of key findings of the report show:

#1: Parents are less worried if AI is behind the wheel: Getting a driver’s license is a new stage of independence for teens, but with self-driving car technology on the horizon, the IEEE survey found that 31% of the parents are more acceptable of their child riding/driving in an autonomous vehicle for the first time.

 #2: AI, not kids are preferred by millennial parents for care during golden years: 63 percent of the millennial parents would rather have AI help them live independently in their golden years. Experts say AI will power smart devices in the home that support physical, emotional, social and mental health, from monitoring and assistive devices like intelligent walkers to robot-assisted dressing.

#3: AI helping gen alpha kids learn faster; AI tutors are attractive option in future: In the future, smart toys and AI apps currently in development have the potential to respond to human language and a child’s behaviour or enable real-time monitoring and enhancement of vocabulary learning.  According to the IEEE survey, 80% of the millennial parents say AI technology increases their expectations that their Generation Alpha babies will learn faster and 74 percent of the parents say they would consider an AI-powered tutor for their child.

Sukanya Mandal, Data Science Professional and IEEE Member, shares some salient points with HPC Asia about how AI will have an impact on the Indian lifestyle, and how it may be adopted in this market.

How do you see AI taking over major aspects of our lifestyle in the coming years?

Whether we like it or not, AI is definitely going to be a part of our lives. Starting from personal digital assistant to children’s education to monitoring the food we eat – AI will be all around us. Automatically our lifestyle will change. Consider the time when we did not have a smartphone. Our lives were moving ahead without it. Then came a time when smartphone started booming and nowadays almost everyone uses one and a large extent of population has made it a part of their life. In the coming years AI seems to make a bigger effect. Our lifestyle will change from ‘trying to overcome the hard task’ to ‘just deploying a solution that will do the work for us’. While in some situation this shift would be helpful whereas in other situations it would just make one lazy.

(The report shows that to keep Gen Alpha kids engaged, millennial parents are using apps, interactive screens and artificial intelligence-powered devices. 44 percent say it also increases their own focus as parents.  Although two-thirds (64 percent) of millennial parents of generation Alpha kids say that AI and other technologies give them time to do other things, two-thirds (63 percent) agree that technologies, including AI, have diminished quality time with their child.)     

When people start adopting AI into their everyday living, what kind of emotional impact will this have?

AI can be of huge assistance to the elderly providing the much needed attention and care required at their age! Same goes for the toddlers while keeping their parents informed about every step. For teenagers, AI could be a very good friend helping and guiding them to take steps towards the right direction. On the other hand, AI could make teens lazy by doing those essential problems solving task which would otherwise improve their cognitive capabilities. Another aspect to consider in this context would be the ethics of AI.

People might just rely on technology so much that their absence might cause a sense of anger or irritation or helplessness. A sense of attachment would be developed between the human – robots, but it is also a concern that they should not overly attached. While AI can have many positive benefits on an individual, the other side must also be taken into consideration.

 (Millennial parents of Generation Alpha kids are nearly twice as likely to agree (45 percent agree, 23 percent disagree) that AI and other technologies minimize their frustrations as a parent. Two in five millennial parents of Generation Alpha kids (39 percent) have a great deal of trust in AI to help diagnose and treat their children if they become sick.  Almost half (46 percent) have some trust. Because AI is giving life to walking and talking robots that are becoming more adept at human behaviour, 40 percent of Millennial parents of Generation Alpha kids say they would be likely to supplement or replace a human nanny with a stay-at-home robo-nanny to help take care of their children.)

 Your report shows that AI will permeate our lives in a major way, are the Indian families geared up to adapt to this change?

Indian families are slowly getting adapted to the changes. They are slowly and steadily embracing the change and moving ahead with it. A few strong initiatives from the local or central government to educate the common masses regarding these new age technologies would be all the more beneficial. As we are aware – AI has huge potential in various sectors. In my opinion Indian families will benefit strongly in terms of education and healthcare when it comes to AI.

(Many experts believe that engineering is driving a myriad of world-changing activities, from space exploration, drones and computer science, to health, medicine and biology; and from vehicle technology to consumer electronics, to name just a few.  About three-quarters of Millennial parents of Generation Alpha kids (74 percent) say they will encourage their child at least somewhat to consider studying and pursuing a career in engineering (including 38 percent who will strongly encourage them) given the world-changing activities in that field.)

What are the technological advancements needed? What is the state of AI developments with major organizations working on AI today?

When it comes to common masses, education is the key. Other technological advancements require government and people working hand in hand to establish strong connectivity, leveraging necessary and required hardware solutions to implement AI. Smart City is no doubt one such initiative where we will get to see a lot of AI enabled technologies.

Major organizations are making breakthroughs in this arena inventing new AI related technologies everyday some of which we get to experience when it comes to life as a product. But, mostly it is all in research state although we have seen some initial steps towards product – Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, IBM Watson etc. but certainly there is a long way to go and actually influence people of all levels of the society.

Do you see the home segment or the enterprise segment adopt AI first, and how will that impact Indian market?

Although the early adoption of AI will be in the home segment in the form of small products, but in the near future the rate of AI adoption in the enterprise sector would be more.  AI is going to majorly affect the Indian market. With Smart City, Make in India and Digital India initiatives – many tech giants has already started investing in AI. India has already started transforming and we will get to see its result in the immediate future. As a result of these initiatives – India’s manufacturing sector has largely benefitted and is on the way to become the global hub of manufacturing, thus giving a boost to Indian economy. Many tech giants have expressed their interest to open their Research labs in India. The right implementation of AI in both public and private sectors and enforcing automation in certain sector while implementing proper skill up program for the existing workforce would result to huge potential within India.

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