India's first Gen AI Conclave begins in Kochi

CM Pinarayi says Gen AI should look to predict extreme weather conditions, boost agri production
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan along with Industries Minister P Rajeeve, IBM Software senior vice president Dinesh Nirmal and Lulu group founder Yusuffali M A at the Gen AI Conclave in Kochi.
Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan along with Industries Minister P Rajeeve, IBM Software senior vice president Dinesh Nirmal and Lulu group founder Yusuffali M A at the Gen AI Conclave in Kochi. Photo | TP Sooraj

KOCHI: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday called for using generative Artificial Intelligence (Gen AI) to predict extreme weather events, making it a life saver, and improve irrigation, fertilisation and pest resistance to improve agricultural production and productivity.

He was speaking after inaugurating the country's first GenAI Conclave, organised by the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) in collaboration with IBM, in Kochi at Lulu Grand Hyatt Bolghatty International Convention Centre. The two-day conclave concludes Friday.

"This Gen AI Conclave assumes greater significance as it is taking place at a time when generative artificial intelligence is rapidly developing and opening up a myriad of opportunities to the world. As a hub of IT and startups in the country, Kerala can function as India's nerve centre in making indigenous contributions in the field of generative artificial intelligence. Let me make mention of the state's experiences over the last few years and our expectations for the future," Pinarayi said.

He said all across the world, global warming and climate change, which is manifesting as extreme weather events, is wreaking havoc and disrupting people’s lives and livelihoods. "In Kerala too, we have had such incidents in successive years in the recent past. Therefore, if we can have generative artificial intelligence based models that can accurately predict the onset of such extreme weather events, it will literally be a life saver, not just for Kerala or India, but for the entire world," said the CM. 

Pinarayi also mentioned how the agriculture sector all around the globe is acutely affected by the effects of global warming and climate change are acutely felt on agriculture. "This affects nations’ food security and pushes people into hunger and poverty. Under such circumstances, solutions that help to improve irrigation, fertilisation and pest resistance will go a long way in improving agricultural production and productivity. Increasing cultivation alongside reducing cost will help to create agricultural surplus. Adequate surplus will ensure that the general public is able to tide over natural calamities without experiencing hunger and poverty," he added.

The CM pointed out that tackling health emergencies like epidemics and pandemics are also as important as tackling natural disasters. "AI based solutions can play a decisive role in tracking and preventing the likes of Covid and Nipah, as well as lifestyle diseases. Tools and solutions need to be devised to effectively monitor patients and diseases so that continued treatment can be provided in case on re-appearance of ailments," said Pinarayi. The CM said that protection and preservation of our environment is paramount. "Solutions that prevent encroachment of wild habitat and poaching of wild life need to be devised in such a way that endangered species and their habitats are given special attention. At the same time, preventing human-wildlife conflict and preserving human life and wild life are also of prime importance in the current Indian context. In this regard, automated warning systems will go a long way in saving lives," he said.

Highlighting the battle that the fishing community have to wage to eke a living, the CM urged innovators to come up with AI tools that can predict the availability of a healthy catch in an exact spot He said that it will make things much easier for such communities, including in our country.

"Solutions based on technology and artificial intelligence that make labour intensive jobs less strenuous on the bodies and minds of the workers, are absolute necessities of our times," Pinarayi said. Real time monitoring of water bodies so as to prevent contamination is essential to ensure safe drinking water to all. Solutions should be devised to enhance the quality of air, water etc. in such a way that nobody is able to profit from the lack of such public or natural goods, he said.

"The onus should be on improving accessibility and inclusivity. Only as a truly accessible and inclusive society can we make giant strides in progress," said the CM.

He said that Kerala is delighted to host the first International Gen AI Conclave in India, along with IBM. "This is indeed a stepping stone towards elevating Kerala into the hub of generative artificial intelligence in the country, as we explore AI's transformative potential and its impact on our society and economy," he added.

On the issue of accessibility and inclusivity, public and mass transportation also has a major role to play, said the CM. "Solutions are needed that ensure that traffic is regulated in such a way that the carrying capacity of roads, the density of vehicles on it and the priorities of different kinds of commuters are taken into account. Systems need to be put in place so as to ensure that bus, boat and metro services to cater to the needs of the commuters on a real time basis," he added.

Highlighting how the Kerala Government is committed to AI, he said, "Our commitment is evident in its integration into our education system. Our schools and universities play a crucial role in training the next generation of AI professionals. The introduction of AI in school textbooks, starting from class 7, ensures that our students are familiar with AI right from an early age. The new ICT curriculum emphasizes critical thinking, analytical skills, and problem-solving abilities, which are essential for holistic development."

"The KITE initiative has been instrumental in providing AI training to teachers, equipping them with the skills to effectively utilise AI in education. All teachers in Kerala will be trained in AI, making us the first state in the country to achieve this enviable milestone. Integrating AI into sectors like tourism, healthcare, education, IT, and renewable energy will stimulate economic growth and enhance the quality of life of our citizens. For example, AI powered virtual tours have significantly increased visitor engagement in our tourism sector," said the CM.

He also pointed out the proactive approach that has been taken by the state government in the implementation of AI powered systems by government agencies. "For instance, the Motor Vehicle Department has adopted AI for enhanced traffic management, showcasing our dedication to leveraging technology for public benefit. The Kerala government is committed to supporting AI based investments and fostering an environment conducive to technological advancement. We anticipate more AI based investments to flow into the state in the coming years, further boosting our efforts to become the leading AI hub," said the CM.

The Government of Kerala has pioneered an Industries Policy that prioritises AI based industries, offering 18 incentives to promote AI-driven MSMEs and companies, further solidifying our position as a leading AI destination in India, he added.

The CM said that alongside bringing the world of AI to Kerala, the state also hopes that this conclave will pave the way for its Industries Policy to get global attention. "In the immediate future itself, we hope to organise a Round Table Conference on Robotics, as a sequel to this conclave on generative artificial intelligence. Kerala's well recognised industrial and startup ecosystem is rapidly emerging as a hotspot for top AI startups and companies. Numerous AI startups in our State are pushing the boundaries of innovation, some of whom have showcased their advancements in the exhibition area here today. At the recent Kerala Plantation Expo, we showcased AI and machine learning-based irrigation systems, drones for targeted spraying of pesticides, and other technological advancements. These innovations are transforming our agriculture sector, making it more efficient and sustainable."

He said, Kerala boasts a burgeoning AI ecosystem, nurtured by initiatives such as K-DISC and ASAP, which have been pivotal in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in emerging technologies. "Our academic institutions, including Digital University, KTU, CUSAT and NIT Calicut, are in the forefront of advancing AI education and research, contributing significantly to our expertise in this field. Institutions like IIT Palakkad among others are offering AI and ML courses, ensuring that our students are well-prepared for the future," the CM said.

One of the primary roles of Governments is to provide services, said the CM. "Integrating the strengths of generative AI into e-governance platforms like e-Office Kerala and various citizen portals can make government services faster and more efficient. AI can automate routine tasks, provide instant help to users, and enable applications to be processed quickly. This will ensure that citizens get the services they need without long waits, making the whole system more user friendly and effective," he said.

CM calls for efforts to improve Malayalam in large language models for GenAI

Kerala CM called for more collective efforts to improve Malayalam in large language models (LLMs) for generative AI. "Despite the strong Malayalam computing communities, many LLMs currently struggle with Malayalam, making them less useful for native speakers. By working together - linguists, AI experts, and the community - we can build better data sets, refine algorithms, and create more accurate language models. This collaboration will help LLMs to understand and use Malayalam better, ensuring that everyone benefits from these technologies and that our language is preserved in the digital age," said the CM.

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