Towards A Healthy Future With AI: Sabyasachi Mukhopadhyay At Innovision’19
Tanaya Sahoo | Nov 04, 2019
Data Science, Machine Learning and the advent of Artificial Intelligence have marked an unprecedented rise of innovation across the world. This advent also marks its presence in varying spectrums and domains of life, science and society. One of the major pillars that move our world is health care; quite indispensably AI and data science have naturally opened gateways of innovation and advancement here.
To fulfil a vision that makes a global impact, a leading Data Scientist, Innovator, Google Developer Expert (ML), Author and TEDx Speaker, Mr Sabyasachi Mukhopadhay visited NIT Rourkela on Innovision’19 (the annual techno-management fest of NIT Rourkela) to deliver a guest lecture on AI in Healthcare. With around 51 publications and accolades like ‘Best Research Paper’, ‘SPIE Photonics Education Scholarship- 2014’, he has featured among the Top 50 Indian innovators and his recent healthcare venture ranked among ‘Top 400 Start-up’ by the Government of India recently.
In his lecture, he highlighted major problems in healthcare ventures that require machine learning and deep learning to solve complexities and affect low-cost solution among others. Mr Sabyasachi presented the nine Heitmeier questions to be answered while working with any project and illustrations on Problem Canvas and Solution Canvas that give a perspective to the kind of problem we want to solve. A chunk of his lecture introduced salient features of methodologies in Tissue Characterization that implements algorithms of Machine Learning. However, the highlight of the lecture remained the concept of Multifractal Detrended Fluctuation Analysis.
As the lecture winded up, he highlighted identifying users and beneficiaries of any project or complexity we work on and most importantly the philosophy behind the idea that germinates in one’s mind as one proceeds step-by-step in its implementation. Team, Monday Morning had a chance to interview him on his visit to the campus. Excerpts:
Monday Morning (MM): Please tell us about what inspired you to become a developer and venture into data science.
Sabyasachi Mukhopadhyay (SM): In this digital world 80 per cent of people are in the Bottom of Pyramid category and a large mass do not have money to pay tax. So, being a scientist or a technologist, it is our duty to utilize the soft-skill available across the globe to minimize problems in at effective cost and create impact. In this regard, AI becomes an important tool that gave me an insight to gradually explore them and come up with low-cost solutions that impact people. I have a background in Electronics and Communication Engineering that gave me a basic insight and eventually camps up with laboratory solutions and implementations.
MM: What has been your prime object of enthusiasm across so many projects and research?
SM: My prime object of enthusiasm is to create an impact. One may do enormous research, talks but at the end of the day, if one doesn’t create an impact, that will lead to widening the gap between industry and academic. So, my goal has been to bring these entities closer and deploy means that make this possible. This broadens on a level to better lives and the economy of India.
MM: How do Google cloud services and Machine learning changing the world as we speak? What are the phenomena behind this boom?
SM: As we speak the digital world gets bigger, in terms of bits and digital structure. Companies like Google and Facebook are trying to deploy AI in such a sophisticated way such that they can harness maximum information to benefit human life in whatever aspect. The other major aspect is the hardware processing pump. That was the challenge till 2014. Then we found that bandwidth in orders often to work with. So, now as we have an enormous amount of data, we have the perfect time to develop. But with this enormity, the processing power would get saturated by 2035. That is why we are now looking in the direction of quantum computers. In this case, we have parallel computing facilities and the processing is exponentially faster. It's not just about cloud services, its also about quantum that needs optimising.
MM: There are debates ongoing as to what will be the philosophy with which AI should work in future. What are your thoughts about it?
SM: The philosophy of operating would be important once the concept of AI comes up in the industrial area. Today, it's not just about mimicking humans but also to augment it. The manual workforce is being replaced by robots that do humongous tasks. High-grade AIs will be implemented in automation now by 2025. In every 4-5 years, AI is making its own advancement. That is how AI and automation are evolving. As I talked about the advent of quantum in processing, there will be a paradigm shift in evolution. And we have to focus o its impact.
MM: In your position as a researcher and an educator, how do you think these two aspects can be correlated towards achieving the objectives you talked about?
SM: This is a major challenge today to close the gap between industry and academics. Earlier, industries had clerical job patterns. Now with the advancement of technology that concept is evolving. We haven’t been able to make our academic curriculum more advancing to keep up. This has impacted college campuses. So, even we as a third world country, we haven’t been able to impact our research as well, like that of MIT or Stanford. Nonetheless, our folks going there are performing par excellence because we have calibre but our curriculum has to be updated to match up with industrial development.
MM: How are innovation and entrepreneurship becoming a part of this broad objective?
SM: In the initial part of the presentation as well I focussed on how problems need to be solved. So, that also involves making a product out of research output such that it meets the validation of the market once it goes out of the lab. When I was interacting with the students here, I told them,
Work on a skill-matrix matching basis. This is important across the globe. There is a need for diversified skill set else you won’t be able to make progress. Colleges have E-cells today to make them work as a team. That should be an important mindset. This will certainly lead to a positive outcome. Once that happens in future, it will become easier to develop project prototypes and then we can go for venture capitalism etc. First, work in a team. As an instance, back in Boston, in weekends people from any profession spend time for community meet-ups. Those conservations between different professionals, investors, scientists, students help us realize our requirements.
MM: Considering this, how do you think the exchange of culture helps in building this sort of ecosystem?
SM: This system leads to a positive impact in different domains, healthcare, agriculture etc. This also helps us to choose our profession. That is how mindsets develop. If you don’t set certain examples, you don’t do hackathons in your college or set up E-cells, you will not only lose network opportunities but also those opportunities that make you realize how the world is working. You won’t get an insight before you graduate. Things are changing in India, in NITs and IITs. I believe in upcoming years that the example of Boston I gave, we can develop some sort of that culture here as well.
MM: What according to you are the challenges India faces to establish these goals, in terms of technology and advancement?
SM: We need to understand the Bottom of Pyramid thing, people don’t have money to pay tax. So, before we talk about machine learning and deep learning to them, we need to make them comprehend basic things. They should have basic facilities in every aspect be it food, social resources etc and eventually they will focus on novelty. Novelty doesn’t come to an empty stomach. It’s great that Google offers some courses to students free at cost and things like that happen. So, the government also has to come up with providing resources to students. Every student requires them as a basic necessity to build on.
MM: What are your future plans and projects?
SM: As you would see from my TEDx talks on YouTube, we are working on a dream project on AI-based Medical Tricorder and Impact on BOP. It's not going to be easy as I told you about the processing power limits but we are trying to deploy it depth-wise to consume lesser power and get optimised results. It's perfect for mobile devices and tablets. If we get the desired outcome, a cell phone can even perform X-Ray of the human body. And even use it for terminal diseases. I am not sure how long that’s going to take but I am optimistic that we can come up with a solution. I am also targeting agricultural sectors.
MM: What are your thoughts about Innovision and NIT Rourkela?
SM: There has been a fantastic team and you all are super-young minds, bright minds coming together to pull such big events. That’s what we need to do. Freshmen coming every year need to see this and get inspired. This is a great culture and needs to evolve throughout India. I believe that in future when we talk about this, we won’t just be mentioning Boston but we will also be talking about places like Kolkata, Bhubaneswar and state capitals together. I believe our students have that potential.
MM: What would be your message to our readers?
SM: Work smartly! Put your best efforts out there and use your intellectuality in the proper direction. You can create miracles and impact lives.
The Team of Monday Morning is thankful to Mr Sabyasachi Mukhopadhyay a wishes him good luck for his impactful ventures!