Global technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) would help create new opportunities in India for delivering services, needs and priorities in sectors like agriculture, education, healthcare, management and others through smart thinking, a top government official said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi today.
“The rise of artificial intelligence and industry 4.0 has a different meaning in a country where there is a deficit of young people and it has a different meaning in a country like India which has a demographic dividend, where the average age of nation is 29+ years and large number of people are educated, intelligent, energetic and young looking to create new opportunities,” said secretary to Department of Science and Technology (DST), professor Ashutosh Sharma while inaugurating ASSOCHAM’s third international conference on Artificial Intelligence for India’s Transformation.
He added that AI may actually not destroy jobs but basically replace people who are not there. “So, it does not destroy jobs because we are creating new opportunities by bringing in machines which do people’s jobs.”
“In India we need to create new opportunities using the same technology, clearly skills are very important, but basically you need to identify the unmet needs, unreached people who are not served by technology,” said professor Sharma.
The secretary also informed that Department of Science and Technology is starting a mission called Cyber Physical Systems. “It is a marriage between information, decision making and AI.”
He said that the mission is worth about Rs 3,660 crore for next three years, it would set up hubs in every conceivable area of artificial intelligence. “This would be a very historical mission in which industry, corporations would be looking at AI as equal partners, I want industry to be totally on-board to provide direction, early vision, problems and work together in also leveraging resources that would be created by government.”
Professor Sharma also informed that another parallel mission is starting out in quantum communication and computing. There is another national mission going on which is related to super computing whereby DST and MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) are working as partners and setting up large number of super computers in the country.
“These missions bring different components of society such as government, industry, academia, R&D labs among others on board in a very compelling way. The missions include the entire end-to-end value chain from knowledge generation to knowledge consumption. While it has basic R&D, it also has technology development, skills, human resource development, incubators, support for start-ups, international collaborations,” he said.
“This would be a great platform for all of us to work together,” he said addressing the industry leaders.
Amid others who addressed the ASSOCHAM conference included – Shin Bongkil, Ambassador, Embassy of Republic of Korea to India; Dr Lovneesh Chanana, chairman, ASSOCHAM National Council on IT/ITeS & e-commerce and vice-president (Digital Government), Asia Pacific and Japan, SAP; Vipul Kaushik, director, Enterprise Intelligence and Analytics, Digital Government Advisory, EY and Col. Saurabh Sanyal, deputy secretary general, ASSOCHAM.
In the final session of the day, Avijeet Kumar Singh, Co-founder & CEO, Prakshep, presented a presentation on how his organisation by application of artificial intelligence is providing services ranging from crop monitoring, crop forecast, crop care, acreage, crop identification, monitoring of plant disease and recommending treatment which result into precision agriculture, high yield and minimum residue in agriculture.
Similar case studies were presented by Utkarsh Singh, Founder & CEO, DronaMaps and Samuel John, COO, Satsure who functions into diverse sectors including agriculture and urban planning. On the other hand, Watasale has started operating AI enabled cashier-less retail store Cochin, Kerala which gives seamless shopping experience to customers. According to Rajesh Malamal, CMO, Watasale, the company is planning to open another store in Bengaluru very soon.