Various technologies at Microsoft that began transforming the lives of individuals and communities in India last year will gain further momentum in 2018, the company’s President Anant Maheshwari said on Tuesday. In a mission statement, Maheshwari said he is proud to play a role in the transformation of India’s core pillars of education, health care, agriculture and governance, among others. Today, about 25 percent students drop out from grade 10 to grade 11.
“We have partnered with Andhra Pradesh government to see how machine learning can help educators foresee signs of a student being on the risk of dropping out and take preventive action. In 2017, the government expanded the rollout of the programme to all 13 districts in the state,” Maheshwari said.
Microsoft has also initiated “Project Sangam” that aims to upskill the workforce to prepare it for jobs that exist now and in the future. “The learning modules are hosted on the Cloud and are coupled with the power of LinkedIn to enable candidates to find jobs,” he said.
Along with the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Microsoft is using machine learning and historic weather data to predict the best time for sowing seeds and other stages of the farming process and pass on that information to farmers via SMS.
“In 2017, we not only increased the pilot to more farmers across additional states like Telangana, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, but also expanded the crops for which we can provide predictive information and saw increase in crop yields ranging from 10 per cent to 30 per cent,” Maheshwari informed.
Researchers at Microsoft India are also working on a project which uses low-cost ground-based sensors and aerial photography, along with data analysis systems that can provide even better predictive analysis for individual fields.
When it comes to health care, Telangana government is using Microsoft’s Cloud-based advanced analytics solution to screen children from birth to 18 years of age for major conditions affecting the health of children in the state.
“One of the insights from the screenings indicated that visual impairment was among the most prevalent health issues among children. This led Telangana government to adopt Microsoft Intelligent Network for Eyecare (MINE), which was developed in partnership with LV Prasad Eye Institute,” Maheshwari said.
MINE uses machine learning and advanced analytics to predict regression rates for eye operations, enabling doctors to pinpoint the procedures needed to prevent and treat visual impairments. While the rest of the world might be talking about self-driving cars, researchers at Microsoft India have devised ways on how low-cost tech can make drivers drive better.
“Project ‘HAMS’ uses a smartphone as an intelligent edge device that can track multiple events such as driver distraction, fatigue and gaze tracking, as well as vehicle ranging, which determines whether a safe separation distance is being maintained with the vehicles in front,” he added.
Researchers are now looking at Bollywood movie scripts to figure out how bots of the future will be able to understand how humans mix languages in a conversation. “We are also breaking language barriers by adding more Indian languages in Microsoft Translator,” Maheshwari said.