Pallavi Kumar on finding AI solutions for real-world problems


23 Oct 2019253 Views

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AIingenious founder Pallavi Kumar told Siliconrepublic.com how she plans to make healthcare more accessible through AI.

Pallavi Kumar is an entrepreneur on a mission to transform access to medicine.

Having seen first-hand how technology can make the healthcare system more efficient, her goal is to harness artificial intelligence (AI) to bring accessible healthcare to every country.

Ahead of her appearance at Comtrade’s Quest for Quality event in Dublin, Kumar told Siliconrepublic.com how she plans to achieve this goal with her company, AIingenious.

Quest for Quality is a two-day software QA and testing conference, this year focusing on the intersection of AI and quality assurance. Tickets are available now for the event on 5 and 6 November.

Headshot of a woman smiling into the camera with long dark hair and a red dress.

Pallavi Kumar. Image: AIingenious

AIingenious was just founded this year. How long was it in the making and what prompted you to found this company?

I always wanted to have my own company as it would give me the freedom to do something towards my vision of making lives better for people. I believe that technology has the power to transform lives for the better.

I have a background of working in the tech industry and I was always passionate about technology, especially its potential to benefit people. I worked in the tech side of the UK healthcare sector – it’s one of the best in the world. That inspired me to create something to make healthcare easily accessible in other countries.

What’s your elevator AIingenious pitch?

AIingenious is dedicated to creating a range of dedicated products and platforms that are going to improve the way we currently do things.

The first platform we are working on is called Doctroo, which will make healthcare easily accessible to people by bringing a majority of healthcare professionals online. This will benefit people who don’t have easy access to healthcare – especially mental healthcare – at nominal charges.

The World Health Organization recommends a doctor to population ratio of one to 1,000, but more than 45pc of WHO member states reported less than one physician per 1,000 people. We aim to close this gap with the help of technology. We believe everyone should have equal access to healthcare services.

AIingenious will have a range of such products and platforms under its hood.

How does your background inform the work you’re doing now?

I have worked alongside doctors and surgeons. I have seen first-hand how technology can make the healthcare system more efficient.

Having seen the challenges in the healthcare industry in India – where it’s getting very expensive and unaffordable, and people are ignoring their health at the times when they need care – I was inspired to start this company and work on this platform.

You’re said to be interested in finding AI solutions for real-world problems. What kind of problems are you thinking of?

The problems we are looking at are the real-world problems with regard to basic necessities such as healthcare, clean air and water, climate change etc. I believe that the potential of technologies like AI and machine learning can be harnessed to create solutions for some of the most pressing issues we are facing now. Technology can be a very powerful tool and a great ally for humans.

Do you think applications of AI so far are missing an opportunity in the problems they are tackling?

We have recently seen that AI has been successful in accurately predicting certain types of cancer by looking at patient reports. In some cases, AI has predicted this well before it was diagnosed by medical professionals.

AI is revolutionising various industries, but still we are far away from completely utilising its potential. One of the challenges is the structured data which AI needs. We are building systems with an AI-first mindset and moving towards collecting more structured data now with the view of utilising it for AI.

What are the biggest challenges facing AI?

Some of the biggest challenges of AI are the ethics surrounding it. It has always been a concern since the early days of AI and some recent incidents have confirmed some of these concerns.

One example was at Amazon, where they had to shut down an online recruitment platform because it developed a bias against women. It had learned from the résumés of past employees, which majorly consisted of males.

Diversity and inclusion are still some of the biggest challenges in AI. When we are developing technology for the whole world, it’s very crucial to have representation from different cultures, races and people.

Other challenges regarding AI are in the lack of a skilled workforce. Since this is still a relatively new technology, there is a shortage of the right workforce needed to develop such systems.

The lack of structured data that can be efficiently used in AI systems is one of the other major challenges.