As India’s startup ecosystem progresses forward the importance of artificial intelligence comes to the fore where two in every three companies in the country now have some AI component to them. With the potential to add over $1 trillion to the economy, the Indian government has looked to capitalise on the technology’s great potential as well.
“We are at year zero for AI,” Axel Angeli said at a panel at the World AI Show that was held in Mumbai last weekend. As founder of Logosworld, a consulting firm specialising in technological management consulting, the German Angeli is seen as a guru in this field and spoke of how education was one of the most important ways that India could succeed in making good on AI’s promise. “Education means that we first speak the same language and we use the same words and can use the same methodologies.”
Which would lead to greater collaboration, particularly between the different generations and their perspectives on how AI can improve the world. Angeli was of the view that the younger generation was more likely to exploit the full potential of the technology as they’re more open to new change. “Let them play, let them enjoy, let them appreciate the invention,” he said about the gamification element of AI and how it can benefit the entire ecosystem. “The elder ones will look to what the younger ones are doing.”
At the same time, as India’s younger generation is trained for the workforce, Dr Rohini Srivathsa, National Technology Officer for Microsoft India, made the case for a more holistic approach to AI, emphasising its more humanising potential. “It’s important to understand what is possible and where are the limitations,” Dr Srivathsa said at the same panel, noting that the acquisition of new skills and employability were seen as key pillars in their strategy in addition to the business development. “Machines are going to be able to do many things that we do today mechanically. Which is now going to raise us to a point where we are then able to be more creative, more empathetic, use our full brain and push our dimensions in ways that today we’re not able to do.”
Secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), also spoke at the Trescon-organised event of AI’s value in addressing issues within areas like agriculture, health, smart mobility and retail & manufacturing. “AI has the potential to solve problems for us that have eluded us for millennia,” Secretary Sawhney said, noting the difficult barriers of multiple languages in India as an example.
NITI Aayog recently put out a report canvassing these problems and listed ideas for greater strides in technology within India. But it will take India’s startups to move beyond the ideas if they are to make it past year zero.
Arjun Harindranath is a freelance journalist and editor of The Tech Panda.