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Indian Prime Minister Modi attended the recent opening of the Wadhwani Institute in Mumbai. Photo: Wadhwani Institute

A new research center in Mumbai aims to use artificial intelligence to help the hundreds of millions of people that live on less than $2 a day.

Why it matters:

"The benefits of AI are going to the top whatever — 5,10 20 percent. ... So far it's made relatively little difference to the bottom 20-30 percent of the world's population."
— India entrepreneur Sunil Wadhwani tells Axios

The details: Indian entrepreneurs Sunil and Romesh Wadhwani are pledging $30 million over 10 years for the center, which is being run by P. Anandan, the founding managing director of Microsoft Research India.

Sunil Wadhwani told Axios that AI can help Amazon sell more goods or Google improve its click-through rates but it can also empower rural health workers or impoverished farmers in India.

The big picture: And, while a few academics are looking at the issue of AI benefitting the bottom 30% of the world, Wadhwani said that until now "there was no really critical mass anywhere in the world where practitioners could come together."

A few other facts about the Wadhwani Institute:

  • It currently has 8 engineers and researchers with a goal of 20 within the first year.
  • The institute is partnered with the government of the Indian state of Maharashtra and also hopes to work with other universities, NGOs and governments.
  • Health care, transportation, agriculture and infrastructure are among the areas of focus.
  • Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi spoke at the institute's recent opening:
"The march of technology cannot be at the expense of further increasing the difference between societies."

Go deeper

9 mins ago - Sports

Gonzaga University revokes NBA great John Stockton's tickets over mask stance

Former Utah Jazz player John Stockton during a 2017 press conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Photo: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Gonzaga University suspend the season tickets of notable alumni John Stockton after the NBA Hall of Famer failed to comply with the school's basketball games mask mandate, the Spokesman-Review first reported.

Driving the news: "Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit," the former Utah Jazz point guard told the outlet in an interview Saturday.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

State Department orders evacuation of U.S. diplomats' families from Ukraine

From left, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Chargés d'Affaires in Ukraine Kristina Kvien during a meeting with Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal in Kyiv. Photo: Yevhen Liubimov/ Ukrinform/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

The State Department will begin evacuating families and non-essential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Why it matters: The move underscores U.S. fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten embassy's ability to assist Americans.

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).