At the Google for India event last year, the global search giant had announced Google Research India, an artificial intelligence (AI) lab based in the company’s offices in Bengaluru. In one of the first official developments from this India Research Lab, Google has announced its support for six research projects led by organizations from India and across Asia, focussing on addressing social, humanitarian and environmental challenges with AI.
Each project is a collaboration between academic AI researchers and a nonprofit organisation with expertise in the respective area, with support from Google researchers, engineers and program managers.
In addition to supporting these efforts with expertise in areas such as computer vision, natural language processing, and other deep learning techniques, Google is also providing each team with funding and computational resources.
Google Research India has said it is also exploring the potential for partnering with India’s scientific research community and academic institutions to help train top talent and support collaborative programs, tools and resources.
At the Google Research Lab, the team was looking to focus on two pillars:
- Advancing fundamental computer science and AI research by building a strong team and partnering with the research community across the country
- Applying research to tackle big problems in fields like healthcare, agriculture, and education while also using it to make apps and services used by billions of people more helpful.
As a result, here are the six shortlisted research projects across sectors from healthcare to education.
The goal of this project is to improve the health information for high HIV/AIDS risk communities. It will apply AI models to identify influencers among marginalised communities at high risk of HIV/AIDS contraction, with the goal of disseminating health information in a better manner and providing medical services and ultimately reducing the rate of HIV contraction.
- Academic researchers: A team from IIIT Delhi led by Tavpritesh Sethi, and another from Singapore Management University led by Pradeep Varakantham
- Non-profit: Swasti
Predicting Risks For Pregnant Women
The team of researchers and the NGO Armman are using AI to predict the risk of expectant mothers dropping out of healthcare programmes, to improve targeted interventions and increase positive healthcare outcomes for mothers and their babies.
- Academic researchers: Team from IIT Madras led by Balaraman Ravindran
- Non-profit: Armman
Healthcare Information Input
The team is applying AI to bring consistency in ti healthcare information collection and monitoring to enable more targeted and actionable healthcare interventions.
- Academic researchers: Team from Singapore Management University led by Arunesh Sinha
- Non-profit: Khushibaby
Predicting Human-Wildlife Conflict
Dealing with the issue of conservation, this team is using AI to predict human-wildlife conflict in the state of Maharashtra to help inform data-driven policymaking.
- Academic researchers: Team from Singapore Management University led by Pradeep Varakantham
- Non-profit: Wildlife Conservation Trust
Improving Dam and Barrage Water Release
To help dam managers understand dam and barrage water releases in a better manner, this team is using AI to build early warning systems that minimise the risk of disasters.
- Academic researchers: Team of Nanyang Technology University led by Bo An
- Non-profit: Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology & The Environment
This team from India is building open-source input tools for underserved Indian languages to accelerate the publishing of openly licensed content.
- Academic researchers: Team from AI4Bharat and IIT Madras led by Mitesh Khapra and Pratyush Kumar
- Non-profit: Storyweaver
Google said it will support academic researchers, organisations and the broader community over the coming months and years to bring these AI projects to life.