Artificial intelligence in Nepal: Amid growing use, here are the things you should know

Artificial Intelligence in Nepal. Photo: FreePik
Artificial Intelligence Photo: FreePik

Today, modern technology and academic discourse revolve around the idea of artificial intelligence and its role in the medical, military, law, and education sectors. As Nepal is also growing used to recent innovations, the use of artificial intelligence in Nepal is also on the rise although it is in an infant state if you compare it with the outer world.

It means artificial intelligence, or AI, as it has been popularly abbreviated, is becoming a part of your life in Nepal also. So, here are the basics you should know about.

What is AI?

The term AI was first coined by John McCarthy during his research in 1956. Simply, AI means a machine that is intelligent as a human. AI is assumed to replicate the skill and reasoning capacity of a human being which also includes reasoning, recognition, and natural language.

In a broad sense, AI has been described as a study area of computer science. It emphasises the creation of intelligent machines that make it conceivable to perceive, reason and performance.

There are three types of AI on the basis of the task it conducts, which are weak or narrow AI, strong or general AI and super AI.

Use of artificial intelligence in Nepal

As far as the use of artificial intelligence in Nepal is concerned, the country has been able to use weak AI only. Examples include the application named Siri on iPhone, and Google Assistance on Android. As per a Start.io report, the number of iPhone active users in Nepal is around 872,700.

voice assistant artificial intelligence in nepal
Representational image. Photo: Pexels/ John Tekeridis

Machine learning is also a part of AI and banks across the world are using digital platforms and smartphones for SMS banking, internet banking, and e-wallet. As such applications are being widely used in Nepal of late, they can also be considered examples of artificial intelligence in Nepal.

Meanwhile, Nepal is gradually moving towards the development of programmes with the use of AI. Various universities and other institutions have also started providing courses about artificial intelligence in Nepal. Startup companies like Fusemachines Nepal and Paaila Technology are the first startup companies in Nepal that used to work with AI and machine learning.

Paaila Technology developed a robot named Pari, which was placed at the SBI Bank’s Dubarmarg branch in Kathmandu. The robot can even identify the bank’s customers through facial recognition. Similarly, Ginger is another robot deployed at Naulo Restaurant in Dubarmarg, Kathmandu.

The hopeful situation

Nepal’s governance system is slowly growing computerised. This means Nepal needs a proper mechanism to store the data in the cloud storage, which has attracted international IT-based companies to Nepal like Deerwalk Incs, Leapforg Technology Inc., Cotiviti Nepal and many more.

They can be instrumental in the development of artificial intelligence in Nepal as these companies focus on the development of software products related to health management, data management, digital healthcare product, and even AI solution for customers in Nepal.

Meanwhile, the growing use of artificial intelligence in Nepal highlights the need to regulate and create guidelines for developing ethical grounds. The government of Nepal had endorsed a programme named Digital Nepal Framework, 2019, which has a five-year vision for digital Nepal in good governance and prosperity.

While bringing the framework, Nepal still lacks such expertise and stakeholder to discuss the pros and cons. Nepal has to be depended on other countries’ support and assistance and many do not have knowledge about AI ethics.

Nonetheless, an increasing number of AI-based companies and software in Nepal indicates the need for the proper regulation of artificial intelligence by the government.

What next?

artificial intelligence in nepal robot
Representational image. Photo: Pexels/ Alex Knight

The Constitution of Nepal includes the right to privacy as a fundamental right. Further, the Privacy Act 2019 and its regulations try to address the minimum right about data as the right of a citizen. The law restricts obtaining data without the permission of individuals like health examination, property, family matters, biometrics detail, thumb impression, political affiliation and business transaction.

However, these laws do not deal with the ethical consideration for the use of artificial intelligence in Nepal. Neither does the country have enough legal systems discussed to address the culprit of abuse of technology in Nepal. The government needs to reform existing laws and make new ones to promote the use of AI here.

Artificial intelligence is based on algorithms that are powered by data. All data provided to it plays a crucial role in creating analysis concerning a person. If it is not regulated on time, it can create a situation when big companies buy the data for their benefit, creating physical damage to the individual in future. AI further can create biases, resulting in discrimination and social consequences. So, to avoid such consequences while promoting the use of artificial intelligence in Nepal, it is necessary to be prepared and provide general awareness about AI ethics.

React to this post

Advocate Silwal is pursuing a master's degree in Chinese law at the Renmin University, School of Law.

More From the Author


New Old Popular