AI to measure GNH

AI to measure GNH

From a teenager whose association with Bhutan began when she was only 5.

A love affair with the Royal Kingdom of Bhutan and Her Majesty, The Gyaltsuen began when Riona Krishnan Dighe was just five years old. It was her first visit to Bhutan. In 2015, she again visited Bhutan and was mesmerized listening to a lecture on Gross National Happiness (GNH). It left a lasting impression on her mind. A few years later, when she had an opportunity to work on an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-related project outside of her school curriculum, she jumped at the opportunity to work on a research paper titled “The Use of AI to Measure Gross National Happiness (GNH).”

Visiting Bhutan for the third time earlier this week, 15-year-old Riona told Business Bhutan that she believes her project is a cost-effective tool for policy making and development as well as economic, social, and environmental decisions that would provide real-time analysis. She tested the pre trained AI models and algorithm using a survey conducted in the UK with questions specifically crafted based on the nine domains used to compute GNH index as defined by the government of Bhutan.  The results resembled human responses and were statistically significant.

She utilized Natural Language Processing (NLP) and sentiment analysis to derive scores on the nine domains, which were then, applied to English social media sites in Bhutan, including various newspapers.

Riona shared that, the AI models used were only applied on the available online English social media websites and did not capture the data set of the whole population. Further, she acknowledges that there could be bias especially due to populist sentiment including noise created by fake news.

She further said that available online social media was predominantly in English which narrowed down her research analysis and accuracy of the results. She wanted to use more pre trained models in Open AI that can be applied across regional and local newspapers where results would be more representative and accurate.

On how Bhutan should equip AI in measuring GNH, she said that currently surveys are used to measure GNH. “AI can be utilized as an alternative to measure GNH. But it is dependent on internet connectivity and smart phone penetration which is currently relatively low in Bhutan. As the country progresses, the infrastructure will improve and AI can be utilized. AI which offers real time analysis can complement the current method of measuring GNH using survey method which is time consuming and expensive,” she added.

Speaking about lessons learnt in Bhutan which could be of use to other countries, she said various attributes of GNH is increasingly being adopted to measure sustainable growth and well being of society. “Thus AI may be utilized as it gives real time analysis of GNH. It works best in countries with good internet penetration, free press with limited fake news,” she said.

While in Bhutan, she shared her research paper with the Centre of Bhutan Studies and spoke to students in several high schools in Thimphu to spark their interest in the subject.

Riona also traveled to Mendagang School in Punakha for charity to extend the collection of books and toys, which she had begun during her second visit. In 2015, she had donated all her toys and books to Mendagang Primary School. She said it was a joy to see and meet the children and that she was honoured to see it doing really well.

At just 15 years old, Riona Krishnan Dighe possesses a charm that transcends her age. She has been to approximately 20 countries across North and South America, East Africa, Europe, and Asia, including Bhutan, as part of her holiday, amongst others.

Born in London to Rakesh Dighe from India and Dr Ormala Krishnan from Singapore, Riona attended the Hill House School in London. At 11, she was Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) certified as a Junior Open Water Scuba Diver, having dived fearlessly to a depth of approximately 25 meters. At eight, she won a UK-wide English short story competition that was selected for publication in a book, and currently she is a full-time boarder at Cheltenham Ladies College, UK.

Riona loves playing golf, skiing and enjoys music. She has also participated in several charity missions at a young age. She also spent a week teaching kindergarten children Maths and English in a village school in Rattar Chattar, Punjab, four km away from the international Pakistan border, in 2019. There she helped her parents set up a library for the school. In 2021, she raised GBP 21,200 through crowd funding for the school in Punjab to assist them in coping with the COVID pandemic.

Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu