Stating that efforts to demonise technology are being made in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that a bridge should be built between artificial intelligence and human intentions. He stressed on the need to understand that technology is a bridge and not a divider, and indicated that the focus should be on upgrading the skills as per the new demands.
He was speaking at the unveiling of the book “Bridgtal Nation”, written by Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran and Roopa Purushothaman, Tata Group’s chief economist, at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, New Delhi in the presence of Tata Sons Chairman Emeritus Ratan Tata. The PM said that his government is using technology to effectively deliver the benefits of welfare schemes to targeted groups.
“In sabhi baaton ke beech yeh bhi sahi hai ki sirf technology samadhan nahi hoti, human intention aur right intention bahut zaroori hai. Yeh baat artificial intelligence par bhi laagu hoti hai. Debate yeh nahi hona chahiye ki artificial intelligence se khatra kya hai? Robot insan se smart kab tak hoga? Balki debate yeh hona chahiye ki artificial intelligence aur human intentions ke beech hum bridge kaise banaye? Apni skills ko nayi demand ke anusar upgrade kaise karein (Amid all these discussions, it is also right that technology is not the only solution. Human intention and right intention is very necessary. This is also applicable for artificial intelligence. The debate should not be on the dangers of artificial intelligence or on when would robots outsmart humans but debate should be on how to build a bridge between artificial intelligence and human intention and how to upgrade our skills according to the new demand),” Modi said.
“Let AI (Artificial Intelligence) be just another aid, which is a little more sophisticated,” he added.
He also pointed out how technology can help with transparency and targeted delivery of services. “Bharat mein bicholiyon aur dalalon ka kya role tha isse aap bhali bhaanti parichit rahe hain (You know the role of middle men and agents very well),” he said, adding that the deemed rule was that “governments run the country, middle men run the governance” and this, he said, happened because there was a gap between people and processes.
Talking about the need to convert challenges posed by technology into opportunities, the PM cited the example of the creation of India Post Payments Bank. He said that the disruption caused by technology to the entire postal organisation was converted into a technology-intensive banking system, benefitting millions through postal bank, which transformed ‘dakiya into a bank babu’.
He also outlined that his government has used technology to remove silos among government departments and build a bridge between supply systems and demand, through innovative ideas like Government e-Marketplace (GeM). He explained how technology was used to create a robust startup system in the country, especially in tier-2 and tier 3-cities, which has helped in the development of an entirely new ecosystem of startups.
Modi said that the book, which presents a vision of the future where technology and human beings co-exist in a mutually beneficial ecosystem, will not only inspire the “Aspirational India” but will also provide a new approach to “professional pessimists”. The book argues that instead of accepting technology as replacement of human labour, India can use it as an aid to generate more jobs. The cutting edge digital tools can act as a bridge between aspirations and achievements — hence the term ‘bridgital’. The event was attended by secretaries of several ministries, industry representatives and diplomats, including the US ambassador and the Chinese envoy.