Kochi: With a robust startup ecosystem in place, Kerala has all the potential to make a giant leap in the domain of artificial intelligence (AI), experts said here the other day. Such is the percolation of AI application of late that its use is gaining vitality, they noted at a conclave organised by Maker Village at KINFRA Hi-Tech Park at Kalamassery here. Titled ‘AI-enabled Transformational Changes — Opportunities, Challenges and Future for Startup Entrepreneurship’, the day-long deliberations focused on the impact of AI on startup entrepreneurship in the State. Dr. Roshy John, Global Head, Industrial Robotics and Cognitive Systems, TCS, said AI has trickled down to every walks of lives in such a manner that its role could no longer be underplayed in Kerala. The State has not only the accessibilities and a strong startup ecosystem, but also immense support from the government, he noted while opening the session. “Take the case of communications in Kerala. We use English extensively in our official documents and day-to-day life that the application of AI can be extended to any fields,” Dr. John pointed out. “This is one such instance. There are many more,” he added. Elaborating on the nuances of AI, he observed that the conventional model of startup entrepreneurship is set to undergo a radical change in a decade, with a deep understanding of AI and deep machine learning. “We have built upon an artifact, which we have accumulated over the last 10 to 15 years of time, Hence, there’s no doubt that the leap in AI which is going to happen in the next few years would be tremendous and open a floodgate of opportunities,” Dr. John added. “Besides, AI has many open-source forums and free cloud services. These are going to be an added advantage.” Anto Ajay Raj John, Senior Architect, Deep Learning Framework Power Platform, IBM (India), called AI the ‘fourth Industrial Revolution’, adding that it is to touch every aspect of human life. “That being the scenario, in a state like Kerala, AI could be successfully employed in many fields. Say, in the form of a drone, to find out which crop is suitable or unsuitable in a particular farmland,” he noted. “Similarly, AI can help identify several local problems and solve them by putting up edge devices such as drone. The essence of AI is to identify a problem and come up with a solution for it.” Interactions between startups and research centres is very pertinent for evolving a strong startup environment, Prof. Ambedkar Dukkipati, Computer Service & Automation, IISc-Bangalore. “Hence, such an atmosphere should be molded in the State for further improvement,” he added. Raghavendra Bhat, Principal Engineer, INTEL India, called for maintaining a balance between the hardware and software industries. “Kerala is strong on the hardware startups and a little behind as far as the software startup industry is concerned,” he said. “It is definitely not because of the lack of talents, but opportunities,” he added.