India’s strides in AI: On his recent trip to India, Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella said India’s future is promising in the field of technology owing to a large base of software developers and that nation’s involvement in a variety of artificial intelligence projects. India will be a frontrunner in AI and other evolving technologies such as cloud computing which will drive economic growth, he said.
India will become the most populous country in the world this year and has a huge pool of talent and skilled workforce. The country is the second largest contributor to the global developer ecosystem. In terms of artificial intelligence projects, India is number one. The country is already endowed with human capital to research, innovate and help technology evolve in an era which will largely be dominated by AI.
Another factor driving India’s progress towards machine learning is rising upskilling aspirations. India has twice the rate of skilling, according to LinkedIn data. Realising the potential of the Indian workforce, tech giant Microsoft is all set to expand its current business in the country and will set up its fourth data centre in Hyderabad.
An artificial intelligence hub
Artificial Intelligence is useful not just for the technology sector but also for other areas that can benefit from machine learning. Multiple industries that will benefit include healthcare where AI-powered tools and techniques can be used to improve diagnosis, treatment, and patient care while reducing costs and increasing efficiency in decision-making.
AI can also find use in finance for analysing market trends, predicting stock prices, and identifying fraudulent practices. Companies have been using AI in transportation as it can be deployed for improving traffic flow, optimising delivery routes, and developing autonomous vehicles.
Other sectors such as manufacturing, and agriculture can also benefit. In fact, for countries like India where agriculture is central, AI may be used to optimise crop yields and improve the efficiency of farming operations. Currently, governments across the world are facing the danger of climate change which has also resulted in crop failure. According to a recent 2022 global survey, clear adoption of AI helped countries tackling major climate-related issues.
The government has also emphasised the importance of AI and in the Union Budget 2022-23, AI has been described as a dawning technology that can assist in scaled-up sustainable development and modernisation of the country.
India has also started using AI in defence. It has set up Defense AI Council and Defense AI Project Agency with an annual budget of Rs 1,000 crore. The Centre for AI and Robotics is developing an Al-based signal intelligence system for intelligence gathering. The government has announced the deployment of 140 AI-enabled sensor systems across its borders.
One of the major challenges facing artificial intelligence is the biases that these machines learn from their creators. Many critics of AI and machine learning have already pointed out how artificial intelligence may reproduce human biases based on the data models provided to them. For example: many social media companies have been accused of having algorithms that promote fair skinned people over those having dark skin. Companies need to work towards alleviating this and make machine learning more diverse and tolerant.
Further, companies are also faced with the problem of equipping the workforce to handle AI. Without proper training, leveraging the potential of artificial intelligence might not be possible. Getting the workforce ready for the AI era is a must. The government must also look into growing concerns over data privacy, algorithmic risk, and black box.
Applied wisely, AI has the potential to become a source of global competitive advantage. Governments across the world are now investing in national AI strategies, involving both public and private sectors. India’s national AI strategy identifies healthcare, agriculture, education, smart cities, infrastructure and mobility as key areas where AI can enable development and can create greater inclusion.