Pioneer talks about Guardian Angel Technology at SOA varsity in Odisha

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, July 22:

Think of a smart phone which can anticipate anything ominous coming your way, being location specific, like a tornado, cyclone, tsunami or heavy rainfall, and issue a warning before it hits you.


“Guardian Angel Technology” can make this possible and every man, woman and child on this planet is entitled to get the relevant information of interest, Prof Raj Reddy, a pioneer and said to be the tallest academician in the field of artificial intelligence in the world, said on Monday.

“We visualize that all the seven billion people in the world will have a smart phone in their hands by 2020 and this technology will make life easier,” Reddy, an Indian-American computer scientist, presently a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, USA, said while delivering a talk on “Guardian Angel Technologies: Providing Right Information to Right People at Right Time” at the SOA University.

Guardian Angel is a concept taken from the Bible, which means that every person in the world has been assigned with an angel to protect that person.

The smart phone, using this technology, would automatically start and stop and alert the person even if it was switched off. It can even help a person know about the likelihood of an accident and avert it.

Winner of the prestigious Turing Award and a Padma Bhushan awardee, Reddy said in the increasingly digital world of the 21st century, every person should be able to get a timely warning about potential calamities like cyclones and flooding, very much in evidence in a state like Odisha.

“The concept of getting the right information to every person in a timely manner is a big idea. It assumes that all seven billion of us should be able to get information of direct interest, filtering out all the rest of the data glut”, he pointed out.

“A Guardian Angel,” he said, “is an autonomic, non-intrusive, device-independent virtual avatar for every person on the planet that is always-on, always-working and always-learning.”

“It whispers in your ear that a tornado is heading your way, providing you a couple of hours time to pull out of that place and reach a place of safety before it strikes you,” Reddy said.

The technology, using big data analytics, could help water pumps irrigating cropped areas by informing them when to water the fields and when to stop.

Reddy said the technology would create a social network of smart phones which would be talking among themselves and exchanging information. “The Guardian Angels will be aware of everything happening and communicate the information to the owner of the phone”, he added.

Right information, he explained, was all information impacting life, liberty and happiness of every individual and it would contain material about safety, security and well-being, including natural or man-made emergencies and about disruption of basic necessities of life such as water, electricity, food, health and transportation.

The cost, however, was a factor, he pointed out, but said though a sensor intensive smart phone cost 200 US dollars per unit now, it was estimated that the cost would come down to 50 US dollars by 2020.

Funding from the government and other stakeholders including the smart phone manufacturers, telecom service providers and IT product and service companies could help each person get a smart phone free.

“And the increase in economic activity and productivity would help these stakeholders to recover the costs in one year,” he said.

Prof PK Nanda, Dean (Research) of the University introduced Reddy to the large number of faculty members present on the occasion.

Prof Damodar Acharya, former Director of IIT, Kharagpur and presently chairman, Advisory Committee of SOA University, Prof BK Sarap, deputy chairman of the University Dr MK Mallick, director (Admission) and senior faculty members were present.

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