Can India be the next artificial intelligence superpower? Here’s what industry leaders think

India has a robust IT ecosystem and all the capabilities to democratize any technology. Globally, we are recognized as a country that has a huge AI-skilled workforce. India is proceeding in the direction of digital transformation, the increasing penetration of digital technologies has encouraged artificial intelligence in India by the current government but the question arises, can India be the artificial intelligence superpower country? Let’s see what industry leaders think about the same.

Nikhil Korgaonkar, regional director at Arcserve India

India can certainly become the next artificial intelligence superpower through zealous innovation and consistent R&D in the technology front. Indian companies and AI-entrepreneurs must start investing more on research and creating India-origin AI products and solutions. India is already an IT powerhouse hence there is already a conducive environment for AI to flourish here. The government is already taking committed steps in establishing a pro-digital infrastructure and the emphasis given to the technology growth in the last two Union Budgets is noted well in the IT fraternity.

The recent efforts by the government in establishing the country in the global AI platform through events like the recent virtual global AI summit ‘Responsible AI for Social Empowerment (RAISE 2020)’, is commendable, where large corporations aligned with government bodies such as NITI Aayog to propagate new business segments resulting out of developments in AI and new skilling initiatives for the masses. The Indian startup sector has already witnessed tremendous upscaling and notable collaborations with global tech giants. Indian entrepreneurs today, have a better understanding of business models and are well-informed about the technologies that are in play. Indian startups today are applying AI to create solutions for verticals like BFSI, healthcare, manufacturing, retail etc. and also for others like agriculture, fisheries, marine resources, water management, alternative medicines, safety and empowerment of women, which were earlier unexplored.

Sandesh Goel, managing director at India

In AI and machine learning, the value of data is of paramount importance. To reap the best results out of any AI-based solution, it requires a mega volume of diverse data to feed the algorithms. AI and tech solution providers in India are at an advantage here given that India is a country of diversity and with being the second largest online market in the world, with mega volumes of data constantly generated within India. Therefore, if companies in India promote local innovation and emphasise on India-based AI solutions, it will aid the country to become an emerging AI superpower. Additionally, India already has adequate IT resources and knowledge stock, and it has been the IT facilitation centre for the world. In ten years down the road, AI is poised to be a $15.7 trillion economy. It is already promising to add $957 billion to India’s economy by 2035.

Ritesh Deokar, country manager at Milestone Systems India

AI is widely discussed in security in recent times, and it is welcoming to observe that the Indian government and think tank agencies like NITI Ayog have given imminent priority to the technology’s promotion in the country. While AI is not a new concept, it has become more mature than before thanks to more advanced AI and deep learning-based algorithms, stronger processing power and wider availability of data. On an open platform VMS, different analytic solutions, including AI can be integrated so users can tailor-make solutions to their needs and pain points. Today, AI is being incorporated into video management and security solution technologies, to enhance accuracy and intelligence; resulting in the prevention of accidents and curbing security threats.

Vikas Bhonsle, CEO at Crayon India

For India, to achieve the feat of becoming a superpower in AI is ambitious. India is already an IT-resource surplus nation. Back in 2018-19, in its National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence India by NITI Aayog, the commission has laid its holistic plan and roadmap on AI integration and promotion which speaks volume on how seriously the think tank and the Government has taken AI. Over the past decade, digital transformation was already changing and re-inventing the way organizations conduct business. With the current pandemic, the process got catapulted further and is slowly becoming a foundational transformation in how an organization delivers value to its customers. AI here, will act as the game changer.

Satish Kumar V, CEO at EverestIMS Technologies

India definitely has the potential and capability to rise up and transform itself into an AI superpower. In fact, it is in a unique position as its vast workforce has many pools that possess deep expertise and knowledge of AI development in the private sectors. What we need to ramp up on is mainly the hardware. Most of the supercomputers that help power AI are in the west and China. However, NITI Aayog has proposed the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence and has submitted a cabinet note requesting the Government of India to allocate around Rs. 7,500 crores towards these efforts. Prime and most significant amongst these would be AIRAWAT – a national cloud computing platform which will provide the aforementioned computing capability need. The funds would also go towards setting up 5 Centres of Research and 20 International Centres for Transformational AI. With around 400 start-ups working on AI and machine learning, we feel that India is poised to take up the reins to become a superpower, albeit perhaps even breaking new ground. Imagine if we could apply these capability sets to agriculture, medicine and infrastructure – the outcomes could be nationwide game-changers for development. We look forward with eagerness and hope to play some small role in this forthcoming revolution.

Prashanth G J, CEO at TechnoBind

India is right now at the cusp of the AI revolution and its impact taking off. One can look at the leadership in AI from two perspectives – one from the technology and innovation and the other from the impact on the country and its people. India the latter will be the driving force leading to much higher implementation of AI also backed by innovation in the technology related to AI as well. India is a large country with its own societal challenges. India is land of diversities ranging from cultural to demographics to linguistic to literacy levels – the list goes on. This simply increases the complexity of governing and bringing in change in the country. The economic benefits that a country like India can gain out of this enormous and hence the belief that Ai will be adopted in a big way leading to India becoming an AI superpower. Also, India having a very strong IT capability and an even stronger start-up culture will progressively develop home-grown technology more suited to India and its problems. These then will have a bigger play in the global space further enhancing India’s positioning in the AI space across the world.

Gurpreet Singh, managing director at Arrow PC Network Pvt Ltd

Many Indian states are planning to frame state cybersecurity policies hand-in-hand with the national cybersecurity policy. Now the applied AI research center, INAI will be unveiled and the Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has rightly said that India is bound to be a robust player in AI application as data is the ‘oxygen’ for AI and India’s huge population, along with a robust digital ecosystem, is going to generate huge amounts of data. The National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence or NSAI has predicted that annual growth rate will be boosted by 1.3 percent by 2035, thanks to AI.

IDC has reported that India’s Artificial Intelligence spending will grow from $300.7Mn in 2019 to $880.5Mn in 2023 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30.8 percent. AI has a huge potential in changing the Indian education sector with changing the learning process, helping students choose the right career path by analyzing the data and coming up with a global level curriculum. Apart from this, there is a huge scope for AI in terms of security measures like face recognition, crime detection, video and image analysis, behavior analysis, predicting crowd and crime patterns. AI can also be used to analyze and map out the economic growth factors and measures to be taken to aid economic growth.

The challenge however is to frame the right policies which cannot be misused by any member of any organization or government agencies. There have been many AI based crime prevention programs that have been shut down due to the creation of algorithms that are prejudiced. The government/organizations should lay down policies and instructions which would avoid such issues cropping up in real-life scenarios since the algorithms are created by humans. These algorithms should also be updated on a real-time basis as the situation presents itself helping a country like India with massive amounts of data to be processed rightly. Data scarcity is a big reason to worry as India despite having a huge population with accumulation of large data, however, this data is not stored or processed for any study or prediction. The huge chunk of unprocessed and raw data or in many cases missing data would actually toughen the role for AI and its uses in the future as the technology and algorithms used will be for processed data and India lacks in that department. But, if government agencies and organizations start taking a step towards easing the process then there is a chance for smooth sailing of AI in India.

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