Artificial intelligence is the road to take : The Tribune India

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Artificial intelligence is the road to take

Artificial intelligence is the road to take

THE newspaper report was about how the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority was planning to use artificial intelligence (AI) for the maintenance of roads. - File photo



Shobhit Mahajan

THE newspaper report was about how the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority was planning to use artificial intelligence (AI) for the maintenance of roads. As a long-time (and suffering) resident of the Millennium City, I was thrilled. After all, what better way to improve the ghastly state of roads than to use the latest high technology?

The euphoric feeling evaporated as soon as I started driving to work. The road in front of my house has thankfully been relaid with concrete and is relatively pothole-free. Of course, the level of the road is now a few inches above that of the houses and hence they get flooded during the monsoon as there is no egress for the water. But then, you win some and lose some.

However, as soon as the concrete road ends, the problems start. One of the main roads leading from my place to the highway is very busy. Potholes are ubiquitous and in fact hardly ever noticed, except when an unfortunate motorcyclist falls because of them. The road is wide enough, but encroachment by vendors and parking by autos and e-rickshaws have effectively reduced it to a single lane, a rural bylane like the ones made under the Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana.

The administration has, of course, taken steps to ease the commute — for instance, to decrease cross-traffic, most of the intersections have been closed. Tall concrete fencing has been put on the median to prevent pedestrian crossing and a foot overbridge has been constructed. But what the traffic planners did not take into account is that ours is a free country.

The overbridge is almost never used. The concrete fencing has been pulled down at various places so that one doesn’t have to make the effort of climbing the few steps to the overbridge. The right to cross the road wherever one wants to was, it seems, inadvertently left out by our constitutional framers from Articles 12 to 35, which list a citizen’s fundamental rights.

And unlike drivers abroad, ours are extremely conscious of the environment. Why should one drive an extra 100 metres to make a U-turn at the intersection when it is ecologically beneficial to drive on the wrong side of the road and cause a jam? Think of all the petrol saved and the emissions reduced because of such Good Samaritans.

All this is not specific to the city where I live — it is commonplace in the country. And therefore I was extremely pleased that finally, something was being done about it. Clearly, ordinary intelligence of the kind possessed by common citizens like me is not up to snuff to figure out that there is a problem. Taking a drive around the city to witness the state of the road infrastructure, filling up potholes and maintaining roads, and strictly enforcing traffic rules against wrong-side driving are so old-fashioned. What we need is the latest in AI to tell us what the problems are and how to solve them. I’m sure my commute will be far less harrowing now that we would have the power of DeepMind to maintain roads.

#Artificial Intelligence AI #Gurugram


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