Is Artificial Intelligence Real in India Now?
Autonomy. Deep learning. Neural networks. Natural language processing. The glossary of AI terms is never-ending, for trends are constantly changing.
From freeing humans from mundane everyday tasks to self-managing resources to perform high-level computing functions – the world has finally reached a phase where AI is not just about digital assistants. It is about stimulating economic growth, enhancing global health, improving manufacturing throughput as well as the state of education.
Having said that, I often get asked – While the pace of AI across the globe is unprecedented, has it finally working its charm in India?
Let’s find out!
The current state of AI in India
The opportunities and economic impact of AI are tremendous. It is expected to boost India’s annual growth rate by 1.3% by 2035 – which roughly translates to the addition of approximately $1 trillion to India’s economy. Despite a slow start on the AI journey, the country has been focusing its efforts on AI research (and adoption), and the government has a huge role to play in this.
The country’s National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog’s Rs. 7000-crore plan has opened new doors for AI transformation in India. The program, which comprises several hundred national development priorities across agriculture, health, rural development, education, research, and more, aims to make use of necessary resources, knowledge, and skills to support national-level AI developments.
Through NITI Aayog, the government has set out to identify projects as well as initiatives that will benefit from AI the most. The investment, although just a first step, has certainly set things in motion.
Let’s look at how the government, education boards, and companies are paving the way for an AI-enabled Indian future.
- In a bid to develop 100 smart cities across India, the Union Ministry of Urban Development is collaborating with several state governments to enable urban renewal for an investment of Rs. 2.04 lakh crores. The Aurangabad Industrial City or AURIC, for instance, is India’s first smart industrial city that uses technology like AI to build infrastructure that supports long-term economic vitality, high quality of life, and an ecosystem that is powered by innovation.
- In the Indian business landscape, cut-throat competition and the constantly fluctuating demands of customers are compelling companies to embrace AI – not just to improve market standing but also customer experience. For example, eCommerce major Flipkart is making several headways in the field of AI. The company has invested in location-based tech company MapMyIndia and aims to simplify the complex problem of Indian addresses. Through deep mapping technology, the company’s AI algorithm generates a precise digital address for each location, so that delivery agents can ensure delivery accuracy.
- As far as introducing AI as a subject in schools and colleges goes, serious efforts are being made by many institutions. For instance, India’s Central Board of Secondary Education has decided to include AI in their syllabus for classes 9-12, so students can be well-versed with today’s fast-growing and highly demanding technologies. The curriculum, that is being developed by IBM, will be implemented as a pilot project across 1000 schools in the country and will enable students to undergo AI training using customized online resources as well as hands-on projects. After completing the training, students will be mentored by experts on prototype development and implementation of projects.
- The IIT-Professor Assisted Initiative is also a great initiative that enables students preparing for JEE exams to attend courses online from anywhere, at any time. This program aims to use AI to offer assisted courses across Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology – allowing students in rural areas as well as from low economic backgrounds to prepare for the competitive exams – without hassles.
- Given the strong startup culture that the country has started to build over the past few years, hundreds of them are mushrooming each day to drive innovation in the field of AI. The speed of innovation is phenomenal. From AI applications for energy and engineering applications to industrial AI, defense, manufacturing, auto, and more – Indian startups are contributing greatly to building a robust AI foundation – not just for this generation but for many others to come.
The way forward
The capabilities that AI offers is set to disrupt India’s future, opening up several avenues of growth. With massive investments being made towards AI implementation, the country is soon catching up with world leaders in the AI race. The country is already on the road to developing a talent pool of AI experts, partnering with AI giants, and preparing students for an AI-driven world.
As new AI startups emerge and as thousands of AI professionals graduate, the future of India is quickly being crafted on AI. Although it might be a few years before AI becomes mainstream in India, continued efforts towards adoption will transform rural areas, cities, and slowly the country as a whole. AI will surely bring India at par with other nations while improving the infrastructure and well-being of its citizens.