As adoption of Artificial Intelligence is growing, one of the fastest growing areas in Technology is AI model development. Kal Penn hosted Amazon Prime show “The Giant Beast That Is The Global Economy” has an entire episode (Season 1, Episode 4) about AI and Model Development. Recently concluded General Elections in India is going to offer a really good case studies for AI model training for years to come.
For AI to be successful, the unaltered and real feedback data is very important. The model predicting the results is as good as data provided. If the data is inconsistent and full of prejudice and / or bias, the results from model are going to be far from reality. This is where Election results from India offer a fascinating case study of AI.

Over the weekend, I came across 2 different things on Twitter related to this topic. Both of them point to same underlying problem. First was an article on Huffington Post. This article talks about a project headed by Wharton MBA Praveen Chakravarty. He was tasked by Congress President Mr. Rahul Gandhi to build social media based campaign. When the data gathering process took off, there were lot of fake users added. This resulted in massive inconsistent data being fed into the model. This resulted in Congress Party developing a faulty campaign strategy which instead of helping it, damaged it’s cause.

Second piece of information that I came across was a talk hosted by “Centre for Policy Research”. Please watch comments by Senior Indian Journalist Shekhar Gupta from 1:30:45 onwards. The panel featured some of the “elites” who advised Congress party on its election strategy. As Mr. Gupta admits they chose to be blind to benefits various Government schemes provided to needy.

When Government of India rolled out Ujwala scheme to provide cooking gas aka LPG cylinders, these elites were questioning would the beneficiary be able to afford refill. This is not limited to one data point. There were similar doubts raised about Mudra Loans and it’s benefit. Today more than 4 crores (40 million) small businesses have this loan of around ₹50,000 ($700) to setup a small business. Most elites spend more than this amount to buy latest iPhone or iPad. So they don’t know benefit of this amount to a small business who are able to earn their livelihood.

Once full analysis of these elections is going to be done, there are going to many such examples that are going to come forward. People who reside in their air-conditioning homes who have very little idea about situation on ground, made their own models and tried to predict outcome of the largest democratic process on earth.
It’s not a surprise that such flawed model and small sample size didn’t give the desired results. These data models were very far from ground reality. All said and done, this is going to be a fine use case of how not to use AI.

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