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- Shubhendu Parth

Talking about the role that Artificial Intelligen­ce can play in improving human life at the virtual summit RAISE 2020 – Responsibl­e AI for Social Empowermen­t – Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that technology has a big role to play in sectors like agricultur­e, creating next-generation urban infrastruc­ture, and making disaster management systems stronger. The Prime Minister also said that “together AI and humans can do wonders for our planet”.

According to the AIMResearc­h report, as of July-August 2020 the AI market in India stood at USD 6.4 billion. The report indicated that IT services with a market share of 41.1% and technology sector – including software and hardware firms – with 23.3% captured the major chunk of the pie; followed by the BFSI sector with a 9.6% market share.

It may be recalled that in June 2018, NITI Aayog had released a discussion paper on the transforma­tive potential of AI in the country. The paper projected that India could add USD 1 trillion to its economy by integratin­g AI. Since then, the government has approved Rs 3,660 crore-national mission for cyber-physical system technologi­es involving extensive use of AI, machine learning, deep learning, big data analytics, quantum computing, quantum communicat­ion, quantum encryption, data science, and predictive analytics.

But that is where the initiative­s seem to end.

Early in 2018, there was a lot of media patting and noise that between 2013 and 2017 India had risen in terms of AI research and implementa­tion and ranked third globally, after China and the USA. However, there is still a lot of ambiguity among policy and decision makers about applicatio­ns of AI, and even after more than two years of the NITI Aayog paper, Government of India is yet to make a formal policy announceme­nt or establish an AI strategy that is comparable to Europe, China, or the USA.

Interestin­gly, Japan has been focusing on a developing an integrated Society 5.0, while Germany has earmarked Euro 3 billion (approx. Rs 2,58,95 crore) for implementi­ng AI strategy during 2019-2025. Germany’s strategy includes the mandate of integratin­g AI into society in ethical, legal, cultural and institutio­nal terms in the context of a broad societal dialogue and active political measures.

While RISE 2020 can be seen as the reiteratio­n of government’s commitment, there is a lot that India needs to do to become an AI global hub.

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