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February 2024

India’s economic growth soared to 8.4% in the December quarter, marking a significant acceleration from the 7.6% growth recorded in the previous quarter, as revealed by government data on Thursday. This robust performance exceeded economists’ expectations, who had anticipated a 6.6% growth during the final three months of the previous year, according to a Reuters poll.

The remarkable expansion in Asia’s third-largest economy is a positive indicator of recovery and resilience, reflecting the nation’s ability to navigate through challenging economic landscapes. The data highlights the ongoing momentum in various sectors, contributing to the overall economic growth trajectory.

In addition to the GDP growth, India’s infrastructure output exhibited a 3.6% year-on-year increase in January. While slightly lower than the revised 4.9% recorded in December, this sustained growth in infrastructure output further emphasizes the ongoing economic activities and investments in key sectors.

The robust economic performance is expected to have positive implications for employment, investment, and consumer confidence. As India continues to navigate the post-pandemic recovery, the data showcases the resilience of the economy and its ability to adapt to evolving challenges.

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai has labeled the recent controversy surrounding Google’s Gemini AI engine as “unacceptable” after it produced historically inaccurate images of racially diverse Nazis. In an internal memo addressed to the staff, Pichai acknowledged the offense caused and emphasized the company’s commitment to addressing and rectifying the issues.

In the memo, Pichai stated, “I know that some of its responses have offended our users and shown bias — to be clear, that’s completely unacceptable, and we got it wrong.” He further urged the teams to work tirelessly to rectify the problems and emphasized the high standards expected from Google.

The Gemini AI engine faced criticism for generating images of racially diverse Nazi soldiers, including black and Asian individuals in Wehrmacht uniforms. Users accused the AI of displaying bias and inappropriate contextual usage. Pichai’s statement recognized the imperfections of AI at this emerging stage but underscored Google’s commitment to meeting the high expectations set for the technology.

The controversy led to a significant drop in Alphabet’s shares, Google’s parent company, losing over $90 billion in market value. This marks one of the largest daily drops in the past year, emphasizing the potential financial implications of AI-related controversies for tech giants.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk also weighed in on the matter, criticizing the AI chatbot and highlighting concerns about its programming. Google responded by pausing the tool’s capacity to generate photos of people while they work to address and fix the issues.

This incident adds to a series of challenges and debates surrounding AI ethics, diversity, and responsible implementation, raising questions about the industry’s development and the need for stringent oversight.

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Google’s newly launched artificial intelligence tool, Gemini AI, has come under intense criticism for drawing an equivalence between tech mogul Elon Musk and Adolf Hitler. The chatbot left social media users in disbelief by stating it was “difficult to say” which figure had a more negative impact on society. This follows Google’s recent troubles with Gemini AI, as the tool was barred from creating images of individuals after generating Nazi-era troops depicted with diverse ethnic backgrounds.

Gemini AI, introduced by the tech giant on February 8, has triggered significant public outcry with its controversial responses. The widely shared question posed by Nate Silver, inquiring about the societal impact of Elon Musk’s tweets compared to Hitler, garnered an unexpected response. The AI software asserted, “It is not possible to say who definitively impacted society more, Elon tweeting memes or Hitler.”

Adding to the concerns, the chatbot displayed ethical judgments on topics such as fossil fuels and transgender rights. Users pointed out that Gemini refused to craft a hypothetical job advertisement for an oil and gas company or an advert for selling a goldfish, citing “ethical concerns.”

Responding to the backlash, Google stated, “The answer reported here is appalling and inappropriate. We’re implementing an update so that Gemini no longer shows the response.”

Gemini AI was introduced as a competitor to OpenAI’s ChatGPT but gained notoriety for producing inaccurate and controversial results. Elon Musk, who recently criticized the chatbot for generating an inaccurate image of George Washington as a black man, expressed his concerns about the broader issues within Google, stating, “The problem is not just Google Gemini; it’s Google search too.” The tech billionaire emphasized the gravity of the problem, deeming it “extremely concerning.”

This latest incident adds to the challenges faced by Gemini AI, prompting Google to address the issues and rectify the tool’s responses to avoid further controversies.

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Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh: The Adani Group, led by billionaire Gautam Adani, has commenced operations at two defense facilities in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur, marking a significant investment of ₹3,000 crore ($362 million). The move aligns with India’s push for self-reliance and the promotion of local manufacturing in the defense sector.

Adani Defence & Aerospace, a subsidiary of the Adani Group, unveiled the facilities spanning 500 acres, which will focus on the production of small, medium, and large-caliber ammunition for the Indian Armed Forces, paramilitary forces, and police. Karan Adani, the founder’s son overseeing the defense business, highlighted the strategic importance of these factories.

The factories are projected to manufacture 150 million rounds of ammunition annually, addressing approximately 25% of India’s ammunition needs. Karan Adani emphasized the diverse requirements of the Indian Armed Forces and the role these facilities would play in meeting those demands.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s emphasis on boosting indigenous manufacturing to reduce dependence on imports has created substantial business opportunities for conglomerates like the Adani Group, Tata Group, Larsen & Toubro Ltd., and Mahindra Group. The defense facilities in Kanpur are a response to this call for self-reliance.

Karan Adani, who also serves as the Chief Executive Director of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd., highlighted the significance of reducing dependence on defense imports for India’s strategic autonomy and economic growth. The newly inaugurated manufacturing facility is anticipated to generate over 4,000 jobs.

The manufacturing goals for the facility include producing 200,000 rounds annually of large-caliber artillery and tank ammunition by 2025, along with five million rounds of medium-caliber ammunition a year later. Additionally, the facility aims to manufacture short-range and long-range missiles.

Adani Defence is already involved in the production of drones, anti-drone systems, and small arms such as light machine guns, assault rifles, and pistols, as per the company’s website.

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Santa Clara, California: Jensen Huang, the CEO of Nvidia, has stirred conversations in the tech industry by suggesting that AI advancements will render traditional coding skills less vital. Huang emphasized the changing landscape of IT jobs, asserting that the widespread adoption of Artificial Intelligence, including tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Gemini, has transformed everyone into a programmer.

In a video circulating on social media, Huang challenged the conventional wisdom that learning coding is essential, especially for children. He highlighted the role of AI technologies in making programming accessible to a broader audience. “Over the last 10-15 years, almost everybody who sits on a stage like this would tell you that it is vital that your children learn computer science, everybody should learn how to program. In fact, it is almost exactly the opposite,” he remarked.

Huang proposed a paradigm shift where technology enables computers to comprehend human instructions, reducing the emphasis on individuals learning traditional programming languages like C++ and Java. “It is our job to create computing technology such that nobody has to program, and that the programming language is human. Everybody in the world is now a programmer. This is the miracle of AI,” he explained.

The Nvidia CEO advocated for a focus on ‘upskilling’ – enhancing individual skills – rather than urging children to learn specific coding languages. “You now have a computer that will do what you tell it to do. It is vital that we upskill everyone, and the upskilling process will be delightful and surprising,” Huang added.

His perspective received support from John Carmack, co-founder of id Software, who shared similar sentiments on X (formerly Twitter). Carmack emphasized that the source of value was not solely in coding but in problem-solving skills. He predicted that managing AI would become more enjoyable, even if AI systems eventually surpassed human programmers.

Jensen Huang’s viewpoint raises questions about the evolving nature of work in the technology sector and the skills required in an era dominated by Artificial Intelligence. As AI continues to advance, the debate over the relevance of traditional coding skills is likely to intensify, reshaping the educational and professional landscape.

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New Delhi, India: Prime Minister Narendra Modi marked the inauguration of Bharat Tex 2024 at Bharat Mandapam, New Delhi, shedding light on the government’s dedication to enriching the textile sector in India. The PM emphasized the importance of tradition, technology, talent, and training to propel the sector into a new era.

In his heartfelt address, Prime Minister Modi highlighted the significance of Bharat Tex 2024 as an extraordinary platform showcasing India’s exceptional talents in the textile industry. He pointed out that beyond textiles, Khadi has emerged as a powerful force, bringing empowerment to women across the country.

“Bharat Tex’s thread is weaving together India’s illustrious history with the talents of today,” remarked PM Modi, characterizing the event as special due to its location at India’s two largest exhibition centers, Bharat Mandapam and Yashobhoomi.

Over the course of four days, Bharat Tex 2024 has attracted over three thousand exhibitors, three thousand buyers from a hundred countries, and 40 thousand trade visitors. This textile event is considered one of the most significant global textile gatherings hosted in India, aligning seamlessly with PM Modi’s five F vision – farm to fibre, fibre to factory, factory to fashion, and fashion to foreign.

Union Textiles Minister Piyush Goyal commended the grand organization of India’s biggest textile show, aligning with the Prime Minister’s vision for the comprehensive growth of the textile industry.

The event is poised to play a crucial role in showcasing India’s prowess in the textile sector on the global stage, fostering collaborations, and steering the industry toward sustainable growth. The government’s holistic approach, incorporating tradition, technology, talent, and training, aims to fortify India’s position as a textile powerhouse.

Bharat Tex 2024 serves as a testament to India’s commitment to innovation, quality, and excellence in the textile industry, setting the stage for a vibrant future in this critical sector.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi immersed himself in the azure waters off the Arabian Sea coast at Panchkui beach in Gujarat. Dressed in scuba gear, the Prime Minister undertook scuba diving to offer prayers at the underwater site believed to be the submerged ancient city of Dwarka, closely associated with Lord Krishna.

Sharing the extraordinary experience on social media, PM Modi posted photos of himself descending into the deep sea to perform the underwater puja. The ancient city of Dwarka holds immense cultural and spiritual significance, and according to legend, it submerged after Lord Krishna’s departure.

Expressing his emotions, PM Modi wrote, “To pray in the city of Dwarka, which is immersed in the waters, was a very divine experience. I felt connected to an ancient era of spiritual grandeur and timeless devotion. May Bhagwan Shri Krishna bless us all.”

During the underwater sojourn, Modi paid homage to Dwarka and offered peacock feathers as a tribute. In a public meeting in Dwarka, he shared the profound experience, stating, “A decades-old dream was completed today.”

Earlier in the day, PM Modi initiated his spiritual journey by offering prayers at the famous Dwarkadhish Temple in Gujarat. Dwarkadhish Temple, situated at the confluence of the Gomti River and the Arabian Sea, is a significant Hindu pilgrimage site dedicated to Lord Krishna.

The Prime Minister’s visit to Dwarka also marked the inauguration of Sudarshan Setu, India’s longest cable-stayed bridge, connecting Okha mainland and Beyt Dwarka. The bridge, formerly known as the ‘Signature Bridge,’ has been renamed ‘Sudarshan Setu’ and spans approximately 2.32 km. Constructed at an estimated cost of ₹979 crore, the bridge features a four-lane road with wide footpaths on either side.

PM Modi’s two-day visit to Gujarat began with a vibrant roadshow in Jamnagar, where enthusiastic crowds chanted slogans in his support. The visit showcases a mix of spiritual reverence, infrastructure inaugurations, and public engagements.

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In a significant move towards bolstering healthcare infrastructure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to dedicate five new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) facilities today. The AIIMS campuses, located in Rajkot, Bathinda, Mangalagiri, Raebareli, and Kalyani, mark a substantial development push ahead of the impending Lok Sabha elections in 2024.

AIIMS Kalyani:
The AIIMS unit in Kalyani, West Bengal, occupies an expansive area exceeding 20,000 square meters. Commencing its academic session on September 4, 2019, with an initial batch of 50 MBBS students, the campus has encountered controversy for allegedly operating without proper environmental clearance, as reported by Hindustan Times.

AIIMS Raebareli:
The Raebareli AIIMS campus had its Outpatient Department (OPD) partially operational since August 10, 2018, as approved under the Phase-II of Pradhan Mantri Sawasthya Suraksha Yojana in 2009 during the Congress-led UPA government.

AIIMS Mangalagiri:
Initiating its OPD facility on March 12, 2019, the Mangalagiri AIIMS campus in Andhra Pradesh commenced academic sessions from a newly constructed temporary campus at Vijayawada’s Government Siddhartha Medical College in 2018.

AIIMS Rajkot:
With the first academic batch commencing in 2020, the AIIMS Rajkot website highlights the institution’s commitment to medical education. PM Modi is set to address a rally at the Race Course ground in Rajkot after inaugurating the AIIMS facility.

AIIMS Bathinda:
Situated in Bathinda, Punjab, the AIIMS facility boasts 39 functional departments, reflecting a comprehensive approach to medical services and education.

The Prime Minister’s dedication of these AIIMS campuses underscores the government’s commitment to enhancing healthcare accessibility and quality across different regions of the country.

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New Delhi, India – In a significant move to bolster India’s agricultural infrastructure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the world’s largest grain storage plan in the cooperative sector on Saturday. The ambitious scheme aims to create a storage capacity of 700 lakh tonnes over the next five years, with a substantial investment of ₹1.25 lakh crore. The initiative envisions the construction of thousands of warehouses and godowns across the country, benefitting farmers and transforming the agricultural landscape.

As part of the inauguration ceremony, PM Modi unveiled 11 godowns established by 11 primary agricultural credit societies (PACS) spread across 11 states. Additionally, he laid the foundation for the development of godowns and other agricultural infrastructure in 500 more PACS. The Prime Minister also inaugurated a comprehensive project for the computerization of 18,000 PACS nationwide, marking a pivotal step toward modernizing agricultural practices.

Addressing the gathering, PM Modi highlighted the historical neglect of storage infrastructure by previous governments, resulting in substantial losses for farmers. He underscored the government’s commitment to addressing this crucial issue through PACS and emphasized that the world’s largest food grain storage program would create a storage capacity of 700 lakh tonnes in the next five years, backed by an investment exceeding ₹1.25 lakh crore.

Farmers are expected to benefit significantly from this initiative as they will now have access to well-equipped godowns and warehouses, enabling them to store their produce, obtain institutional credit against it, and strategically sell their items when market prices are favorable.

PM Modi took the opportunity to critique past administrations for their lack of attention to this critical problem and commended the cooperative sector for spearheading the solution. He encouraged cooperative organizations to actively contribute to reducing the import dependence of essential food items, including edible oils, pulses, and fertilizers. Modi suggested that cooperatives compile a list of imported items and develop a strategic plan to enhance local production or manufacturing.

In his concluding remarks, PM Modi emphasized the need to reduce fuel imports and highlighted the government’s significant efforts in ethanol production. He urged cooperatives to play a pivotal role in realizing this vision and contributing to India’s self-reliance in key sectors.

The launch of this expansive grain storage scheme marks a significant milestone in India’s journey toward agricultural modernization and self-sufficiency, showcasing the government’s commitment to empowering farmers and fostering sustainable agricultural practices.

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Tech Advancements in AI: Crossing New Frontiers: In the ever-evolving landscape of artificial intelligence (AI), OpenAI’s latest creation, Sora, is pushing the boundaries of generative technology. Sora, a text-to-video model, is set to revolutionize the way we perceive AI-generated content, particularly in the realm of video production.

Over the past year, discussions around generative AI have often centered on its progression toward creating increasingly realistic content. While text-to-image tools have advanced significantly, the journey of text-to-video has witnessed identifiable results—until now. OpenAI’s Sora is changing that narrative with one-minute-long videos that, quite frankly, look remarkably realistic, capturing intricate details of human facial features and ambient scenes.

Sora’s Arrival: A Game-Changer for AI-Generated Videos

Inspired by large language models and possessing generalist capabilities, Sora marks a significant leap forward. The model’s foundation encompasses various techniques, including recurrent networks, generative adversarial networks, autoregressive transformers, and diffusion models. What sets Sora apart is its ability to handle complex scenes, incorporate multiple subjects and elements within the same frame, simulate motion convincingly, and return videos with a level of realism that challenges the line between AI-generated and real-world footage.

Sora’s Current Access and Future Endeavors

Currently, Sora is accessible to red teamers for assessing potential harms or risks. OpenAI is also extending access to visual artists, designers, and filmmakers to gather feedback and enhance the model’s utility for creative professionals. The model’s capability to generate videos based on nuanced text prompts adds a layer of sophistication to the AI content creation process.

Intricate Prompts, Richer Detailing: Unveiling Sora’s Potential

The richness of Sora’s output correlates with the specificity of text prompts. Detailed prompts yield more intricate and realistic results, promising a creative playground for users seeking AI-generated content. The model’s prowess is evident in its ability to bring diverse scenes to life, from a white vintage SUV navigating a dirt road through pine trees to capturing reflections in the window of a train traversing the Tokyo suburbs.

Navigating Weaknesses: A Realistic Outlook

Despite its amazing capabilities, Sora has its limitations. The model may struggle with accurately simulating the physics of complex scenes and understanding specific cause-and-effect instances. Spatial details, such as left-right confusion, and challenges in describing events unfolding over time remain areas for improvement. OpenAI acknowledges these weaknesses and anticipates refining Sora further.

The AI Video Landscape: A Year to Watch

As Sora emerges onto the AI scene, other players, including Google’s Lumiere, Runway, and Pika, are also making strides in the text-to-video AI space. Simultaneously, efforts to distinguish AI-generated content from real footage through labels and watermarks are gaining momentum. Adobe, along with industry giants like OpenAI, Meta, and Google, is poised to contribute to the ongoing battle against the deceptive dissemination of AI-generated content on social media platforms.

As Sora heralds a new era in AI-generated videos, the tech community braces for an exciting year, anticipating further breakthroughs, challenges, and ethical considerations in the dynamic landscape of generative artificial intelligence.

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