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How digital assistant Amelia can help transform Indian healthcare sector

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New Delhi, Nov 5 (IANS) Touted as the world’s “most human” Artificial Intelligence (AI) assistant that can “read between the lines” and “understand emotional expressions”, Amelia has the potential to turn India’s healthcare sector into an inclusive one, believes her creator Chetan Dube, CEO of New York-headquartered AI company IPsoft.

Amelia got her name from Amelia Earhart, one of the pioneering women in American history who became the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932.

The tech Amelia combines automation, cognitive and emotional intelligence with Machine Learning (ML) capabilities to perform as a digital colleague.

When Amelia was first created, her conversational abilities sent shockwaves in the AI community, raising fears of job losses, especially in countries like India where a large number of people are employed in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

But Dube, who left a teaching job at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences 20 years ago to pursue a career in business, is unperturbed by the talk of job losses as he believes that AI would not displace as many jobs as it would help create.

“We are now at the third version of Amelia, a development process that has been going on for the last 15 years, and she is the industry’s most advanced, conversational AI,” Dube told IANS in an email interview.

“Not only does she communicate in over a 100 languages, she also has the ability to learn and improve over time which makes her the market’s only AI that can fully adapt to new business requirements. She can automate any process in a business,” he added.

Amelia can be pre-trained to handle requests and questions related to HR, finance, IT and procurement. In fact, according to Dube, Amelia can be trained to handle almost any knowledge-based task.

“She helps customers open new bank accounts, process insurance claims and register patients for hospital entry. As a whisper agent, Amelia provides her human colleagues with a personalised conversational user interface (UI),” said Dube, who thinks Amelia can do wonders in transforming India’s healthcare sector.

“Amelia allows patients to self-manage in scheduling doctors’ appointments, tests and medicines. She can also offer condition-specific advice and well-curated health management tips.

“A robust digital colleague like Amelia can free caregivers from high-volume patient needs to provide specialised care for unique or pressing concerns, while subsequently providing patients with enhanced 24/7 access to medical services,” Dube explained.

“AI and Amelia are vital for an inclusive and democratic healthcare sector and could have an enormous impact,” he added.

According to him, common AI assistants like Alexa, Cortana and Siri cannot read between the lines. They cannot understand underlying meanings or emotional expressions. Even when it comes to more advanced AI, the majority of these virtual assistants lack capabilities of contextualising information as people do, he said.

“When customers or employees interact with Amelia, they don’t feel they are interacting with something artificial due to her advanced empathetic abilities, capacity to switch context and channels, and intelligent responses. Amelia is the only AI on the market that offers all of these features with expert-level accuracy and emotional intelligence,” Dube noted.

IPsoft, Dube said, is now exploring opportunities with a number of agencies in digital health programmes, to accelerate technology adoption which will take pressure off of the human workforce while maintaining and improving services.

The company, which has 16 offices in 13 countries, including one in Bengaluru, helps with the digitisation process required in an organisation to deploy Amelia and make her work.

“It is a crucial part of our work to make sure our clients have the right prerequisites to implement Amelia. In fact, we have developed Amelia ‘Marketplace’, the first off-the-shelf AI-Marketplace for digital labour and conversational AI.

“The Amelia Solutions Marketplace offers complete out-of-the-box functional roles and associated skills for Amelia across verticals such as banking, insurance and healthcare,” he said.
In order to train Amelia, IPsoft and its partners teach her the essential knowledge she will need to understand how a business runs.

“Partners provide IPsoft with industry-specific terminology, as well as any required logic frameworks that Amelia needs to learn to develop her decision-making skills,” Dube explained.

India, according to Dube, is on a “straight path” of becoming a technological force to be reckoned with in the coming years.

“An important part of this advancement is, of course, to invest in the right innovation and technologies that strengthen the country’s already strong industries,” he said.

(Gokul Bhagabati can be contacted at [email protected])

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National Milk Day: Know history, significance of this day; Interesting facts about milk here

National Milk Day was established in 2014 by the Food and Agriculture Organisation to commemorate Dr. Verghese Kurien, who is considered the father of India’s White Revolution.

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Amul Milk Production

Every year, National Milk Day is celebrated on November 26 across India. The largest milk producing country celebrates this day to demonstrate the importance of milk in everyone’s life. It is worth noting that National Milk Day and World Milk Day are two different events, observed on different dates with different significance.

National Milk Day was established in 2014 by the Food and Agriculture Organisation to commemorate Dr. Verghese Kurien, who is considered the father of India’s White Revolution.

Why is National Milk Day Celebrated?

National Milk Day is celebrated on November 26 all over India, and it was established by the Food and Agricultural Organisation in 2014.

The day is dedicated to honouring Dr. Verghese Kurien, who is considered to be the father of India’s White Revolution. November 26 is also his birth anniversary, which is why this day is even more important as it also highlights his contribution to the country’s dairy farming and production.

First National Milk Day:

The Indian Dairy Association (IDA) in 2014, took the initiative to celebrate this day for the first time. The first National Milk Day was marked on November 26, 2014, in which various milk producers from 22 states participated.

Kerala-born, Dr Verghese Kurien is known as the ‘Milkman of India’ and the father of the 1970s White Revolution. He came with the one billion litre idea of turning a milk-guzzling country into world’s top dairy producer.

National Milk Day: Interesting facts about milk here

Milk is one of the best sources of calcium and the only drink in the world that contains such a large amount of natural nutrients.

Dr Verghese worked towards enabling the country to have its own production centres of milk. His support was crucial in making the Amul girl ad campaign-which is one of the longest-running campaigns for decades.

His accolades include Ramon Magsaysay Award, World Food Prize, Padma Shri, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Wateler Peace Prize.

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Global availability of Covid vaccine for public only by mid-2021: Moody’s

The report said mass vaccination that significantly reduces individual and public health concerns would lift sentiment and present a significant upside to global growth.

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Covid 19 Vaccine

New Delhi: While recent news about the high effectiveness of two coronavirus vaccines is a promising sign in the effort to combat the pandemic, a vaccine for Covid-19 will not be widely distributed before mid-2021, Moodys Investors Service said on Tuesday.

“However, these developments do not change the assumption underpinning our economic forecasts that widespread, global availability of the vaccine to the general public is only likely by around mid-2021,” Moody’s said in a report.

It added that the recent positive news about the effectiveness of vaccines under development will do little to ease the immediate concern that the current rise in coronavirus cases across the US and Europe will dampen sentiments and economic momentum in these regions this quarter and the next.

“Our baseline economic forecasts balance the downside risks of increasing infections and new lockdowns in the next two months, against the potential for widespread vaccinations over the next 12 months. If lockdowns are more severe than we expect, the negative effect on GDP could be offset if a coronavirus vaccine is available quicker and uptake is wider than we had expected,” it added.

Although successful Phase 3 trials of vaccines are a big step, there are numerous hurdles ahead, including satisfying approval requirements by regulators in individual countries, production of the billions of doses required for mass vaccination, ensuring proper storage and building distribution networks.

Distribution will likely occur in phases once regulators approve a vaccine, with health officials prioritizing access for healthcare workers and those in other high-risk professions, as well as for people who are most vulnerable to COVID-19, such as older people and individuals in care homes.

Moody’s said two important variables in overall success of vaccines in curbing the pandemic will be the public’s willingness to get vaccinated and what percentage of the population will need to be vaccinated in order for the spread of the virus to be brought under control. Vaccine availability likely will vary across countries, with cost and access major hurdles in particular for less-developed economies.

Many advanced and a handful of middle-income emerging market countries have already secured contracts for hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccines. Residents of these countries will be among the first to get the vaccinations, with their economies benefiting from the associated easing of the public health crisis. The earlier the health crisis in a country subsides, the stronger the country’s economic recovery will be, it added.

The report said mass vaccination that significantly reduces individual and public health concerns would lift sentiment and present a significant upside to global growth.

As long as the coronavirus remains a health risk, social distancing restrictions and the reluctance of consumers to engage in high contact social and economic activity will mar the recovery of services sectors. As vaccines become broadly available, health fears and concerns about an uncertain economic and financial outlook should recede, allowing for a quicker resumption of activity in high contact sectors such as hotels, restaurants, theaters, mass transit, airlines and travel and tourism.

Moody’s said the pandemic has already inflicted enormous damage on the hardest-hit sectors and will continue to undermine their financial condition and prospects, with repeated virus outbreaks and lockdown measures suppressing demand. The risk of business failure increases exponentially the longer the pandemic prevents a return to some semblance of normal activity.

A vaccine will help accelerate the recovery. But for many of these businesses, survival will remain challenging until the virus is no longer viewed as a significant public health threat. It is difficult to know how many businesses will survive several more months of below-normal revenue, it added.

Small and midsized businesses across advanced and emerging market countries are at risk and more of them will undoubtedly close on account of the prolonged cash flow shock. And those that do survive will have the long and arduous task of rebuilding their balance sheets while also, in many cases, facing significant changes in consumer behavior and demand patterns. “Therefore, even if economic activity returns to healthy levels once a vaccine is widely available, the detrimental economic impact and transformed operating environment will be felt for years to come”, Moody’s said.

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Guru Tegh Bahadur Martyrdom Day: J-K Lt Governor Pays Tribute To Sikh Guru

Manoj Sinha noted that the pious day is a reminder to respect and uphold the ‘faith, belief and rights of people’.

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Manoj Sinha

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha paid rich tributes to Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Sikh guru, on his martyrdom day on Tuesday.

“The teachings and martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur underline one of the most fundamental principles of human existence, which is ensuring the right of everyone to breathe free and live unshackled,” Sinha said.

Guru Teg Bahadur’s sacrifice is an important reminder for the future generations to be committed towards upholding the faith, belief and rights of people, he added.

On this pious day, everyone must resolve to dedicate themselves to selfless service of others, the LG said.

“Peaceful co-existence, mutual respect for each other’s religious beliefs go a long way in uplifting individual lives and achieving harmony and compassion in the society,” he added.

Guru Tegh Bahadur was born on April 1, 1621. He resisted forced conversions of Hindus, Sikhs, Kashmiri Pandits and non-Muslims to Islam and was killed on this day in 1675 on the orders of the then Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in Delhi.

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COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.