AI, frontier technologies will play socio-economic role in country: Govt official

AI, frontier technologies will play socio-economic role in country: Govt official
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2 May, 2019

Artificial intelligence (AI) and other frontier technologies will bridge the gap and reduce accessibility issues in the country, said Gopalakrishnan S, joint secretary at the central ministry of electronics and information technology. He also highlighted the central government's vision of developing an AI ecosystem, as part of the budgetary announcements.

Gopalakrishnan S said that AI and cyber-physical systems are rapidly influencing the digital ecosystem.

"Recent advances in data collection and aggregation…help these technologies to present new opportunities for digital transformation," he said at an event organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) in Delhi.

In the latest budget, the government has recognised the role of AI and digital technologies in making India a $10 trillion economy in eight years, stand-in finance minister Piyush Goyal had said, adding that the Centre will set up a national programme on AI.

MS Rao, president and chief executive of the national e-governance division at the ministry, said that through the national programme on AI, the government will be able to effectively engage with all the stakeholders towards AI solutions for the benefit of the country's citizens and the holistic development of the country.

The government has said that it will establish a National Centre of Artificial Intelligence, along with Centres of Excellence for other emerging technologies, in association with National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom). The Centre has identified nine priority areas, apart from formulating plans to develop a National Artificial Intelligence portal.

Underlining the crucial role of academia and research in the areas of AI and other emerging technologies, Surendra Nath Tripathi, director of the Indian Institute of Public Administration, said that AI's scope is much larger and the tech can be even effective as a socio-economic tool. “Direct Benefits Transfer (DBT) is the single-most-effective step taken by the government to go truly digital,” he said.

Other speakers at the event said that the country needs to ramp up investment in these technologies, apart from being proactive in embracing them, in order to be globally competitive in the digital era. If ethical and trust issues are addressed, these technologies will open up socio-economic growth in the country, they noted.

Ficci said that these technologies were changing even customer preferences and behaviour. It added that the industry association was bringing together senior government officials, policymakers, chief information officers, and other senior industry professionals.