In my role at Intel, as the head of Intel India, I work with researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs who are inventing the future. What inspires and energizes me about their ideas and projects are the tremendous possibilities to improve peoples’ lives. The technologies I see being developed have the potential to transform my country, and India’s fast-maturing industry ecosystem and growing entrepreneurship hold the promise of unprecedented innovation and economic growth.

The pace and intensity of innovation across different sectors – health, education, environment, entertainment, agriculture, automotive – is driving the fourth industrial revolution. Water and steam mechanized production in the first industrial revolution; electric power enabled mass production in the second one; the digital revolution drove automation since the middle of last century (third) and now disruptive autonomous technologies are blurring the lines between cyber physical systems and between humans and machines. India is becoming a global hub for innovation, where local technology creation and engineering capability are accelerated by international adoption of the most successful solutions.

At Intel, we take great pride in having contributed to Indian research and innovation over the past twenty years. In September 2018, for instance, we announced a collaboration with Government of India’s Niti Aayog (National Institution for transforming India) and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) to set up a Model International Center for Transformative Artificial Intelligence (ICTAI). The goal of ICTAI is to pave the way for artificial intelligence (AI) research and solutions needed in India for critical domains such as healthcare, agriculture, and smart mobility.

Artificial intelligence implementations will be the next wave of computing, transforming the way people engage in every aspect of their lives. Data is collected, then trained and a decision or result is inferenced based on that data. Advances in connectivity (5G) and analytics, both at the edge (connected devices) and in the cloud (data centers), will enhance the opportunity to derive value from large datasets.

I strongly believe that breakthrough innovations should translate into value for citizens. Artificial intelligence is proving to be a phenomenal technology to enhance and save peoples’ lives. Healthcare, agriculture, and smart mobility are three key areas for India’s future and AI can help address these societal priorities.

Agriculture has become increasingly more difficult as global warming and pollution have made the distribution of rain more chaotic and the monsoon’ season more complex.  Leveraging AI to optimize crop irrigation, soil moisture and water quality is of the utmost importance for food supply sustainability.

The computing advances will also save peoples’ lives. Advances in the use of computing power and data can improve the delivery and access to healthcare and reduce road accidents. Deploying AI for healthcare enhances the ability to diagnose and prevent diseases, to deliver the right therapy and treatment, and to better allocate healthcare resources. Also, for a country that loses about seventeen lives every hour due to road accidents, automated driving assistance systems (ADAS) powered by AI is a relevant and important societal transforming solution.

Artificial Intelligence will be a tool to deliver economic growth and social progress, and we need to make certain that people benefit from human-centric AI in an inclusive manner. In fact, with the increasing use of AI technologies, autonomous determinations can negatively affect citizens. There is a potential for harm, namely a number of potential unintended consequences including discriminations, biases and restriction of choices or economic, physical or reputational damage for individuals.

At Intel we have a long history of addressing issues of the impact of technology on peoples’ lives. We have engaged in multiple efforts on supply chain responsibility (conflict-free minerals), been a leader on privacy by design, and have long focused on environmental sustainability (waste reduction and water savings). We are now actively working to promote public policy solutions to promote the benefits of AI, while also mitigating the disruption they may cause to some peoples’ lives.  These efforts are part of our overall commitment to the innovative AND ethical use of data.

We advocate that policy stakeholders take the following six actions to create the right environment for AI.:

1) Data policies and privacy laws should be comprehensive and flexible to encompass all data use cases and to allow for cross-border data flows. Too strict or limiting data localization requirements impinge on the ability to create diverse datasets – that are crucial for precise and reliable AI inference.

2) Organizations should hold themselves accountable for adopting appropriate technical and organizational measures to minimize risks for citizens related to data processing. Accountability approaches entail privacy and ethical impact assessments throughout the product design, development and deployment process.

3) More automation should not translate to less protection. AI decision-making should not be limited a priori, but increased safeguards should be granted to individuals. Industry and governments should work together on international voluntary standards on algorithm explainability and promote risk-based degrees of human oversight to minimize risk to citizens from automated decision-making.

4) Access to data is of paramount importance for algorithms to be reliable and effective. Governments could improve the current situation by opening up public data, fostering incentive models for data sharing and ensuring international data flows with the right data controls in place.

5) Investments in research are necessary to move the technology and policy debate forward. In fact, technologies may play a significant role in addressing citizens’ concerns, such as privacy and data security. AI can be deployed to detect biases or cyber threats and promising technologies like homomorphic encryption enable computation without accessing personal data.

6) Governments should develop programs to foster the AI workforce and mitigate the disruption to employment that can come from AI by creating: a. the workforce that develops AI, b. the workforce that uses AI, and c. education and social programs to assist those individuals whose jobs have been automated.

At Intel, we see tremendous value that AI will bring to society. As head of Intel in India, I see the potential this technology has to propel my country and our society forward, and to learn from those experiences to help other countries realize the same benefits. I look forward to working with policy stakeholders around the world to make that happen.

Nivruti Rai is Vice-President in the Data Center Group (DCG) and Country Head Intel India at Intel Corporation.