Merging of AI, Life Sciences Vital for Progress, says Eminent Expert

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:
Convergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and life sciences has become an imperative necessity as these are poised to become the harbingers of future engineering discipline that will profoundly impact human life in general and academic disciplines in particular, says an internationally acclaimed expert in super computing.

“Engineering and life sciences must merge together and we may come out with new entities that are going to create a huge impact in life,” said Padma Bhushan Dr Vijay Bhatkar while delivering the keynote address at the three-day 16th Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) meeting at Kollam last evening.

Offering his insights on the topic ‘Use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Healthcare’, Dr Bhatkar, who is Chancellor of Nalanda University, said the progress of RGCB is not possible without getting exposed to the new emerging disciplines of AI and Machine Learning (ML).

“While learning it, you are not only getting exposed to this, you are actually driving the engineering discipline in many ways. Today, there is no discipline that is not touched by AI. It has emerged so profoundly that it has made a deep impact on all academic disciplines,” stressed Dr Bhatkar, who enjoys the reputation of being the architect of India’s initiative in supercomputing.

Noting that after Plus Two, the artificial separation across all disciplines is a serious shortcoming in the existing education system, Dr Bhatkar said the new National Education Policy argues for liberal education, which is akin to the education system that prevailed in the ancient Nalanda University.

“Several disciplines were taught in a liberal manner in Nalanda by teachers and seers. That education system was admired and acclaimed by many. We will have liberal education in all our universities. Still, I don’t know how it is going to be implemented, but it is our responsibility to do that,” he added.

Dr Bhatkar, a renowned computer scientist, IT leader, and educationalist, said the distinct choice between engineering and life sciences/medical sciences completely separates one’s exposure to biology. Similarly, the biology and life sciences people are not exposed to engineering in a serious way.

Dr Bhatkar added that RGCB must also look into the emerging disciplines like emotional intelligence and its impact.

In his welcome address, RGCB Director Prof. Chandrabhas Narayana said RGCB has a method of strengthening its SAC by inviting experts who would be able to contribute extensively to its scientific endeavours.

The eminent scientists, who attended the programme both online and offline included: Prof N K Ganguly, former Chairman of RGCB SAC; Prof P Balaram, Chairman, SAC, and former Director of Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru; Dr Balasubramanian Gopal, Professor, Molecular Physics, IISc, Bengaluru; and Dr Vinay Kumar Nandicoori, Director, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad.

The other experts are: Dr MRS Rao, Dr Chaitanya Joshi, Dr. V. Nagaraja, Dr PN Rangarajan Dr Partha Majumdar, Dr Subhra Chakraborty, Dr Ajay Parida, Dr SV Chiplunkar, Dr Chitra Sarkar, Dr.Apurva Sarin, Dr. Pramod Garg, and Dr Saumitra Das.

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