Artificial Intelligence in India – Explained : UPSC GS3

  • Data and AI will contribute close to half a trillion to India’s GDP by 2025 : NASSCOM
  • A growing AI economy is estimated to create over 20 million technical roles alone.
  • Currently, India has roughly $50 bn of investments in AI’s R&D.
Positives for India:
  • Rising talent pool:  In 2019, we nearly doubled our AI workforce to 72,000 from 40,000 in 2018.
  • Rising Internet Consumption: According to the Department of Telecommunications, Internet consumption in India rose by 13% after the lockdown was announced.
  • Private investment: AI centres of excellence have been set up to look into solutions for global clients.
  • Vibrant Start-up ecosystem: Cutting edge solutions being evolved in diverse areas such as cancer screening, smart farming, conversational AI for the use of enterprises.
  • Infrastructural Support: India’s vast number of technical institutes, incubation centres.
Government Initiatives:
  • National strategy for AI: By NITI Aayog- Envisages ‘AI for all’ for inclusive growth.
  • Initiatives like the national knowledge portal and ‘Responsible AI for youth’ programme.
  • State governments: Like Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Maharashtra among others have announced policies and strategies for AI adoption.
Applications of AI:
  • Providing niche solutions to specific problems: that banks and other service providers are deploying, such as speeding up loan application processing or improving customer service.
  • For better governance and social impact: E.g. During the lockdown, the Telangana police used AI-enabled automated number plate recognition software to catch violations.
  • AI during COVID: AI used in monitoring and prediction. Ex. Arogya Setu App
Why one must not “fear” Artificial Intelligence?
  • Such systems are actually pretty dumb
  • This is because even the most intelligent systems today with artificial specific intelligence can perform one task better than any human can, but only that one task
  • Any simple task that it is not specifically programmed for, such a system would find impossible to complete.
Concerns related to Artificial Intelligence
(1) Jobs
  • The possible negative effect of Artificial Intelligence on jobs has been a trending topic recently
  • But there has been no academic or policy consensus on what the exact effect will be
  • Still there can be no doubt that at least some jobs will be negatively affected by Artificial Intelligence
(2) Weapons
  • The use of Artificial Intelligence in weapons leading to ‘autonomous weapons’ raises a number of difficult questions in international law
  • A machine that has been given the ability to make life and death decisions on the battlefield can be dangerous
(3) Data Security
  • The entire Artificial Intelligence ecosystem is built on the availability of great amounts of data and enhancing efficiency requires continued availability of such data
  • This raises the question of where the required data comes from, and who owns and controls it
Way forward: Three areas need attention:
  1. Talent development: Meeting rising demand with the right talent.
  2. Policy formulation:
    • A balanced approach: in the way we harness and utilize data.
    • Robust legal framework: that governs data and serves as the base for the ethical use of AI.
  3. Digitization: While digital technologies have increased, digitization continues to below. Digitization will ensure the right amount of training data to run AI/ML algorithms by organizations.
  • With the Government of India steering AI and its applications on a national scale, we can expect to witness an increase in the flow of investments into advanced technologies like IoT, Blockchain, Data Analytics and, Machine Learning.
  • The future of AI is inevitable, India needs to seize the opportunity given its vast talent pool.
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