Colloquium Details

AI Solutions for the Underserved Billions

Speaker: P. Anandan, Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence

Location: 60 Fifth Avenue 527

Date: April 5, 2019, 3 p.m.

Host: Lakshmi Subramanian


While AI has become ubiquitous in the daily lives of most people in developed segments of the world, it’s usage among the billions of poor is practically non-existent. Yet, given that the a primary cause of sustained poverty and hardship is the insufficiency of human expertise and inadequacy of expert human resources, AI may actually provide opportunities to transform the every aspect of the life such as health, agriculture, basic education, infrastructure, and financial inclusion. Wadhwani AI is an independent not-for-profit applied research Institute based in Mumbai founded on this premise and with the goal of developing innovative AI based solutions to address the challenges of the lives of the poor. We are about one year old, and have grown to a team of about 25, working in developing solutions for a few initial use-cases in health and agriculture, specifically in the areas of Maternal and Child health, TB eradication, and Cotton Farming.

In this talk, I will described our approach to these problems, including how we select our problems, the technical aspects of our work, and how we propose to see our work have tangible, sustained and scalable impact in the world. I will also use the talk to share some the learnings from the first year of this endeavor, especially regarding some of the key challenges in doing AI in the social sector and how to address them.

Speaker Bio:

P. Anandan is the CEO of Wadhwani Institute of Artificial Intelligence. Previous to this Anandan was VP for Research at the Adobe Research Lab India (2016-2017) and before that a Distinguished Scientist and Managing Director at Microsoft Research (1997-2014). Anandan was the founding director of Microsoft Research India which he ran from 2005-2014. Prior to this, Anandan was researcher at Sarnoff corporation (1991-1997) and an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Yale University (1987-1991). His primary research area is Computer vision where he is well known for his fundamental and lasting contributions to the problem of visual motion analysis.

Anandan received his PhD in Computer Science from University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1987, a Masters in Computer Science from University of Nebraska, Lincoln in 1979 and his BTech in Electrical Engineering from IIT Madras, India in 1977. He is a distinguished alumnus of IIT Madras, and UMass, Amherst and is on the Nebraska Hall of Computing.


Refreshments will be offered starting 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the talk.

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