Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at the 'Artificial Intelligence in Defence' exhibition, in New Delhi on Monday (Images courtesy: PIB)
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh launched 75 newly-developed Artificial Intelligence (AI) products/technologies during the first-ever ‘AI in Defence’ (AIDef) symposium and exhibition, organised by the Ministry of Defence in New Delhi on Monday.
The products, launched as part of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations, fall under various domains. These include AI Platform Automation; Autonomous/Unmanned/Robotics systems; Block Chain-based Automation; Command, Control, Communication, Computer & Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance; Cyber Security; Human Behavioural Analysis; Intelligent Monitoring Systems; Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems; Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Operational Data Analytics; Manufacturing and Maintenance; Simulators/Test Equipment and speech/voice analysis using Natural Language Processing.
Three AI products developed by the Defence PSUs were also screened during the event. It includes an AI-enabled Voice Transcription/Analysis software developed by Bharat Electronics Limited; Driver Fatigue Monitoring System developed by Bharat Earth Movers Limited and AI-enabled evaluation of Welding defects in X-rays of Non-destructive Testing developed by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers.
Appreciating the efforts, Singh, in his address, described AI as a revolutionary step in the development of humanity and a proof that a human being is the most evolved creature in the universe. He was amazed that a human mind has not only created/reproduced knowledge, but is developing intelligence that creates knowledge.
He pointed out that AI has built inroads in almost every sector, including defence, health & medicine, agriculture, trade & commerce and transport and called upon all the defence stakeholders to enhance the jointness of human consciousness and the ability of AI to bring a radical change in the sector.
"When there has been full human participation in wars, new autonomous weapons/systems have been developed with the help of AI applications. They can destroy enemy establishments without human control. AI-enabled military devices are capable of handling large amounts of data efficiently. It is also proving to be very helpful in training the soldiers. In the coming times, Augmented and Virtual Reality technologies will also be used effectively,” he said.
The MoD, Armed Forces, DRDO, DPSUs and the Industry are making meaningful efforts to provide innovative and indigenous AI solutions for defence and are developing futuristic technologies. Singh echoed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of developing AI-enabled and AI-led applications to ensure social welfare & national security and making India a ‘Global Hub for AI’. He hoped that India will soon be among the leading countries in the field of AI.
“We have started incorporation of AI applications in remote piloted, unmanned aerial vehicles etc. There is a need to move further in this direction so that we can develop autonomous weapon systems. Timely infusion of technologies like AI and Big Data in the defence sector is of utmost importance, so that we are not left behind the technological curve and are able to take maximum advantage of technology for our services," he said.
He urged the industry and start-ups to explore newer avenues and work hand-in-hand with the government to ensure complete self-reliance in the field of AI technology.
"Russia is a technologically advanced country and is continuously progressing in the field of Science and Technology. On AI, Russian President Vladimir Putin had said ‘Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world’. Although India believes in the principle of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the whole world is one family) and has no intention to rule the world, we must develop the capability of our AI technology so that no country can even think of ruling us,” said Singh.
The Defence Minister emphasised on the need to think about humanity and world peace along with one’s own defence and security.
“There is a need to think about the ethics of AI and its potential dangers at an early stage. Whenever a new technology is introduced, it takes time for the society to adapt to it. In this transition period, a challenging situation sometimes arises. Since AI is a technology that brings about a massive change, we have to be prepared in advance for any legal, ethical, political and economic challenges. We should look at the future of AI with a positive attitude, but remain prepared as well. We have to use this technology for the welfare, development and peace of humanity. We must work towards ensuring its democratic use,” he said.
Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar emphasised on the need to encourage the use of AI in defence, reiterating the commitment of MoD to make all efforts in this direction to ensure that the Armed Forces are equipped with state-of-the-art technology. He stated that a task force was established in 2018 for strategic integration of AI in defence and had submitted its recommendations within three months. These recommendations were implemented through the Defence AI Council, headed by Rajnath Singh.
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