The Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR) run by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is the central agency working on AI in India. It focuses on using AI based robots for nuclear, biological and chemical environments (NBC), advanced battlefield warfare and ‘big data’ analysis.
As Dr VS Mahalingam, a former CAIR director says, “Data analytics part is the main task now.” He points out that while it is correct to say that data analysis is all about having higher computational power, he also holds that AI-based robots will be able to ‘sense’ and interpret their own data locally.
In a hazardous environment, AI robots are the best option for providing damage assessment, collecting samples of contamination, and even evacuating survivors.
CAIR is working on robot soldiers who can replace humans on the battlefield, but India is still struggling with the ethical issues involved. Is it right to give guns to highly developed robots? What will be the impact of such decision-making by robots in the heat of combat?
According to Dr Mahalingam, fielding robots in highly sensitive environments like battlefields is still about two decades away. But in the meanwhile, areas of data analytics for ‘Big’ data, data mining and such other functions are already being taken over by AI.
Its application in areas like healthcare, assembly line manufacturing are only going to rise. And as an area of evolving technology there will be ever more break-throughs with newer applications.