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India as the Emerging Hub for AI

The scope for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Science in today’s times is increasing with each passing day. In addition to the simpler fields like banking and mortgage sector, AI has made its presence felt majorly in defence, aviation and even the health sector. 

India understood the potential of AI much early and there have been several initiatives operating at different levels. The government has been investing in terms of resources as well as capital to advance the capability of AI. Many organisations and institutions are working towards strengthening the possible outreach of AI. That has shown definite results too. 

Pulling the Socks in Academic Endeavours Towards AI and Data Sciences

It is important that the education system or the curriculum incorporates the study of data sciences and AI seriously today. Many esteemed institutions in India have revised the modules and introduced focussed studies to provide an elaborated access to students for nuances of the subject.

The Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad recently launched the Brij Disa Centre for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence with the aim of catalysing the progress in the field of data science and AI.  According to the institute’s official website, the centre will work towards the following aspects:

  • Supporting and fostering research in the field of Data science and AI.
  • Circulating reports and data findings with the stake holders through a variety of channels – media, articles, workshops, etc.
  • Connecting with people interested in tracking the progress of data science and AI.
  • Facilitating businesses by forming a network of consultants to provide solutions to companies seeking help with data science and AI.
  • Providing analytical tools to industries and sectors within the country and worldwide.

The Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee too introduced 7 new academic programmes with specialisation in AI and Data Sciences. These are all post graduate degrees launched in a virtual ceremony. All these are a major steps towards improving the access to students with respect to education as well as job opportunities in the sector. The programmes are expected to aid the AI and data science projects running at the national and international levels. 

The Indian Institute of Management, Vizag also plans to set up a science and analytics lab to advance the inter-disciplinary research. Extensive tools and techniques like artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, cloud computing, graph analytics, game theory, and pervasive computing would be used. 

On the lines of many ivy league universities abroad, Indian colleges and courses too have upscaled the modules to match up with the changing demands. In fact Indians are highly placed in many institutes and companies around the world contributing to the sector.

Potential Areas for Progress and Improvement

Amongst the many sectors, India has shown visible progress in AI and data sciences in terms of healthcare. During the pandemic, there were many applications developed to cater to multiple needs for common man. From updating the status in case of an infection, to checking the number of cases in the neighbourhood, to booking slots for vaccines, to keeping an update on the numbers in different regions, India displayed a fully functional system. 

There are definitely some challenges that slow down the rate of growth. They include lack of internet access in rural areas, low awareness about the idea of artificial intelligence and low sustainable implementation machinery, weak data security systems and compromised data privacy in many cases. There are many steps being taken to over come these obstacles and work towards a transparent yet strong system that amalgamates data, processes it, supplies it to the concerned stake holders and uses it in the legally optimal ways. 

The prospective areas for much more progress in India with heavy potential are: Defence, Process optimisation for public services, Banking, Healthcare and Education in remote areas. While the government is working towards the best practices and platforms, it is the educational institutions that are helping the most. The collaborations with consultancy firms and universities abroad are also helping. 

The initiative “Indiaai” was launched for the same purpose. It organises conferences, publishes reports and articles to increase awareness about AI. It was developed by MeitY and NASSCOM in June 2020. It has a description of the new start ups working in the field as well as the research done in the past to help develop a better understanding. It is the central hub for anything related to AI and continues to promote AI for social empowerment as well. Recently the Ministry of Electronics and IT proposed a set up worth INR 450 crores for National Language Translation. The NITI Aayog set up an Atal Mission to encourage an environment of entrepreneurship and innovation across schools. There have been FIVE chatbots deployed in India’s FinTech sector namely PAi, Ask VAHEI, RILs, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank. 

There is scope for much more and the strive has gained momentum already. The future of AI in India is definitely brighter than ever for commercial as well as social goals.