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 GS Paper 3: Awareness in the fields of IT, space, computers, robotics, computers, biotechnology and issues related to intellectual property rights.



The success of AI in enterprises has the potential to usher in a new era of abundant, highly personalised products and services, unbiased and rational decisions, and lower costs of delivery and development. At the same time, if not implemented in the right way, AI could also result in the widening of income disparity between skilled and unskilled workers. Consumers, businesses, governments and international bodies (like the UN or the World Economic Forum)—all have to consciously make policy decisions to help with the success of AI and passing on its benefits to all.


Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the ability of a computer or a computer-enabled robotic system to process information and produce outcomes in a manner similar to the thought process of humans in learning, decision making and solving problems. By extension, the goal of AI systems is to tackle complex problems in ways similar to human logic and reasoning.

                                AI is an over-arching concept that encompasses multiple (often overlapping) disciplines. These draw upon knowledge and techniques from mathematics, statistics, computer science and domain-specific expertise to create models, software programs and tools. These software programs and tools can undertake complex tasks with outcomes that are comparable, if not better, to traditional manual approaches.


Scope of AI                 

  • With machine learning, we can now build systems that are capable of improving their own performance by learning from data over time.
  • Therefore, financial institutions and hospitals have started utilising AI systems for fraud detection and diagnosis of diseases to effectively harness the potential of their information and tackle more complex problems.
  • PwC helped a manufacturing client deploy and use predictive maintenance solutions using machine learning. This allowed the client to reduce machine downtime and improve equipment efficiency.



  • In another instance, unsupervised machine learning algorithms had been applied to a logistics and transportation business to classify entities such as vehicles, routes and transportation service providers based on the propensity of drivers to resort to improper driving behaviour that causes significant losses in consignments for the client.
  • Advanced use cases of deep learning techniques such as convolutional neural networks (CNNs) for video analytics have helped clients operating in sectors such as energy, maritime, real estate and mining get real-time alerts for detecting intrusions, identifying abandoned objects, evaluating traffic flow density and enabling facial and character recognition so as to improve overall safety and security levels at different locations.
  • We have seen the examples of industrial automation and large scope of deployment of robots to help in manufacturing activities. Many organizations are moving towards human-less manufacturing.
  • Activities such as image processing and image analysis are helping significantly in medical field in the areas of diagnosis. Precision and personalized medicine are also on their way.


AI initiatives underway in India

  • Private sector:

Indian start-ups are working across a plethora of AI problems— identifying patterns in objects, people, style and preferences to advice on retail shopping; building conversational services and using them over social media apps and for online shopping; developing better diagnostic services; bringing in cognition in robotic process automation; helping in cross-channel discovery of preferences and working in multiple languages.

  • Government and public sector:

Public policy in India on the application of AI has thus far lagged when compared to AI’s subtle usage by start-ups who have so seamlessly blended AI into the services provided to customers. If we look at the applications that we use/have used at some point of time (e-commerce platforms, chat services, social media services and so on), they have all been employing AI in some form and at some level of maturity or the other. Though India is making rapid progress in terms of technology, companies and researchers are yet to utilise the full potential of AI.

  • AI in governance:

Take for instance the Clean India Initiative directed towards the construction of toilets in rural India. Public servants are tasked with uploading images of these toilet constructions to a central server for sampling and assessment. Image processing AI can be used to flag photographs that do not resemble completely built toilets.

AI can also be consumed in traditional industries like agriculture. The Department of Agriculture Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture runs the Kisan Call Centers across the country to respond to issues raised by farmers instantly and in their local language. An AI system will help assist the call centre by linking various available information. For example, it could pick up soil reports from government agencies and link them to the environmental conditions prevalent over the years using data from a remote sensing satellite. It could then provide advice on the optimal crop that can be sown in that land pocket. This information could also be used to determine the crop’s susceptibility to pests.


While there is a substantive body of literature on recent advances in AI and the resulting implications for jobs, skills, and society at large, few analyses have examined the specific impact of AI on India’s emerging economy. The Indian government is aggressively trying to increase human capital on a national scale, with a specific emphasis on its younger population through the Skill India initiative, while seeking to attract global manufacturing to India via its Make in India program. The other part of this modernizing triad is the Digital India initiative: a determined push to expand digital access nationwide.


Previous Year Questions

  1. What is a digital signature? What does its authentication mean? Give various salient built-in features of a digital signature. (2013)
  2. How does the 3D printing technology work? List out the advantages and disadvantages of the technology. (2013)
  3. What is an FRP composite material? How are they manufactured? Discuss their application in aviation and automobile industries. (2013)
  4. In a globalized world, Intellectual Property Rights assume significance and are a source of litigation. Broadly distinguish between the terms—Copyrights, Patents and Trade Secrets. (2014)
  5. What are the areas of prohibitive labour that can be sustainably managed by robots? Discuss the initiatives that can propel the research in premier research institutes for substantive and gainful innovation. (2015)
  6. Discuss India’s achievements in the field of Space Science and Technology. How the application of this technology has helped India in its socio-economic development? (2016)
  7. Why is nanotechnology one of the key technologies of the 21st century? Describe the salient features of Indian Government’s Mission on Nano science and Technology and the scope of its application in the development process of the country. (2016)