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India’s first Gen AI meetup kicks off in Kochi

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan with Industries Minister P. Rajeeve, IBM Software Senior Vice President Dinesh Nirmal and Group Founder Lulu Yusuffali MA at the Gen AI Conclave in Kochi.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan with Industries Minister P. Rajeeve, IBM Software Senior Vice President Dinesh Nirmal and Group Founder Lulu Yusuffali MA at the Gen AI Conclave in Kochi. Photo | TP Sooraj

KOCHI: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday called for the use of generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) to predict extreme weather events, which could prove to be a lifeline, and also for improving irrigation, fertilisation and pest resistance to increase 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 association with IBM, in Kochi at the Lulu Grand Hyatt Bolghatty International Convention Centre. The two-day meet will conclude on Friday.

“This Gen AI Conclave assumes greater significance as it comes at a time when generative AI is rapidly evolving and opening up innumerable opportunities for the world. As the IT and startup hub of the country, Kerala can act as India’s command centre for indigenous contributions in the field of generative AI. Let me take a moment to mention the state’s experience over the last few years and our expectations for the future,” Pinarayi said.

He said that global warming and climate change, which manifests itself in extreme weather events, are wreaking havoc and disrupting the lives and livelihoods of people all over the world. “In Kerala too, we have had such incidents in successive years in the recent past. Therefore, if we can have AI-based generative models that can accurately predict the onset of such extreme weather events, it will literally be a lifesaver, not just for Kerala or India, but for the entire world,” the CM said.

Pinarayi also mentioned how the agricultural sector across the world is being hit by the effects of global warming and climate change is having a major impact on agriculture. “This is affecting the food security of nations and pushing people towards hunger and poverty. In such circumstances, solutions that help improve irrigation, fertilisation and pest resistance will go a long way in improving agricultural production and productivity. Increasing crop yields along with reducing costs will help create an agricultural surplus. Adequate surplus will ensure that the general population is able to survive natural calamities without facing hunger and poverty,” he added.

The CM emphasised that dealing with health emergencies like epidemics and pandemics is as important as dealing with natural disasters. “AI-based solutions can play a crucial role in tracking and preventing diseases like Covid and Nipah, as well as lifestyle diseases. Tools and solutions need to be developed to effectively monitor patients and diseases so that in case of recurrence of ailments, further treatment can be provided,” Pinarayi said. The CM said that protection and preservation of our environment is of prime importance. “Solutions to prevent habitat encroachment and poaching of animals need to be developed in such a way that endangered species and their habitats are given special attention. At the same time, prevention of human-wildlife conflicts and protection of human and wild life are also of prime importance in the current context of India. In this regard, automated alert systems will go a long way in saving lives,” he said.

Highlighting the struggle that the fishing community has to go through to earn a living, the CM urged innovators to develop AI-based tools that can predict the availability of healthy catch at a particular location. He said this will make life a lot easier for such communities, including those in our country.

“Technology and AI-based solutions that make labor-intensive work less taxing on the body and mind of workers are an absolute necessity of our times,” Pinarayi said. Real-time monitoring of water to prevent pollution is essential to ensure safe drinking water for all. Solutions need to be developed that improve the quality of air, water, etc. in such a way that no one benefits from the lack of such public or natural assets, he said.

“The onus should be on improving accessibility and inclusiveness. Only as a truly accessible and inclusive society can we make giant strides,” the CM said.

He said Kerala is delighted to host the first International Gen AI Conclave in India, along with IBM. “It is indeed a milestone towards elevating Kerala to the status of a Generative AI hub in the country as we explore the transformative potential of AI and its impact on our society and economy,” he added.

In terms of accessibility and inclusiveness, public and mass transport also play an important role, the CM said. “Solutions are needed to ensure that traffic is regulated in such a way that it takes into account the capacity of the roads, the density of vehicles on them and the priorities of different types of commuters. Systems need to be put in place to ensure that bus, boat and metro services meet the needs of commuters in real time,” he added.

Highlighting how the Kerala government is committed to AI, he said, “Our commitment is evident from its integration into our education system. Our schools and universities play a key role in educating the next generation of AI professionals. Introducing AI in school textbooks, starting from class 7, ensures that our students are familiar with AI from a young age. The new ICT syllabus emphasizes critical thinking, analytical skills and problem-solving ability, 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 use 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 in sectors like tourism, healthcare, education, IT and renewable energy will boost economic growth and improve the quality of life of our citizens. For example, AI-based virtual tours have significantly increased visitor engagement in our tourism sector,” the CM said.

He also highlighted the proactive approach taken by the state government in adopting AI-based systems by government agencies. “For example, the Department of Motor Vehicles has adopted AI to improve traffic management, which demonstrates our commitment to utilising technology for the public good. The Kerala government is committed to supporting AI-based investments and creating an enabling environment for technological advancement. We expect more AI-based investments to flow into the state in the coming years, which will further strengthen our efforts to become a leading AI hub,” the CM said.

The Kerala government has introduced a pioneering industrial policy that prioritises AI-based industries by offering 18 incentives to promote SMEs and AI-enabled companies, further cementing our position as the leading AI provider in India, he added.

The CM said that apart from introducing the world of AI to Kerala, the state also hopes that this meet will pave the way for its industrial policy to attract global attention. “In the near future, we hope to organise a Robotics Conference Roundtable, as a sequel to this meet on generative AI. Kerala’s well-known industrial and startup ecosystem is fast becoming a meeting place for the best AI startups and companies. Numerous AI startups in our state are pushing the boundaries of innovation, some of which showcased their achievements at the exhibition area here today. At the recent Kerala Plantation Expo, we showcased AI and machine learning based irrigation systems, drones for targeted pesticide spraying and other technological advancements. These innovations are transforming our agriculture sector, making it more efficient and sustainable.”

He said Kerala boasts of a thriving AI ecosystem, nurtured by initiatives like K-DISC and ASAP, which have played a key role in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in emerging technologies. “Our academic institutions, including Digital University, KTU, CUSAT and NIT Calicut, have been at the forefront of AI education and research, contributing significantly to our expertise in the field. Institutions like IIT Palakkad and others offer 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 deliver services, the CM said. “Integrating the strengths of generative AI with 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 immediate assistance to users and enable quick processing of requests. This will ensure that citizens get the services they need without having to wait for long, making the entire system more user-friendly and efficient,” he said.

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

The Kerala CM has called for greater collective efforts to improve Malayalam in Large Language Models (LLMs) for generative AI. “Despite strong Malayalam language computing communities, many LLMs currently have issues with Malayalam, making them less useful for native speakers. With collaboration — linguists, AI experts and the community — we can create better datasets, refine algorithms and create more accurate language models. This collaboration will help LLMs better understand and use Malayalam, ensuring that everyone benefits from these technologies and our language is preserved in the digital age,” the CM said.