The rise of artificial intelligence will help improve productivity and lead to equitable development, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the University of Mumbai on Sunday. Modi, who inaugurated the Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence on the Kalina campus of the university, downplayed fears of humans losing jobs to robots. “With each wave of new technology, new opportunities arise. It opens an entirely new paradigm of opportunities. New opportunities have always outnumbered old ones,” said Modi. “This optimism spells from my firm faith in the ancient Indian thinking that blended science and spirituality and found harmony between the two for the greater good of mankind,” he said.
The Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence is the first centre in the country to focus on research in artificial intelligence and is supported by the state government. The main aim of the centre is to integrate artificial intelligence in the field of social development. Entrepreneur brothers Sunil and Romesh Wadhwani have invested a sum of Rs 200 crore into the institute. The initial team of researchers includes at least 10 data scientists from across the globe.
Modi, who delivered the speech in English, called the institute an example of how public and private sectors can come together for the benefit of general public. At the inauguration event, Modi emphasised on the use of artificial intelligence for the equitable development of the public. “Scientists need to identify the grand challenges that artificial intelligence can solve. Can we use AI to empower the disabled? Can a combination of AI and teachers help bridge the teacher-student ratio?” Modi asked.
Apart from Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, the inaugural event saw participation from data scientists from top institutes of the country. “Currently, there is a major skill gap in the field of Artificial Intelligence across the country that needs to be addressed. Such an institute will help in putting focus on the issue. Educational institutes must also adapt to this need of the hour,” said Ashish Kapoor, principal researcher, Microsoft.