Robust industry-academia collaboration can make India future-ready for AI
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most oft-discussed topics now. The number of AI-preneurs is also on the rise. There is no doubt whatsoever that as India steps on the cusp of digital revolution, the country needs collaboration and integration of public and private sector supplemented by efforts of highly qualified academia to harness the immense potential and develop the Artificial Intelligence ecosystem. The government of India has already outlined its priorities with respect to AI. Globally, companies and organisations are leveraging AI to unleash the power of huge data which resides with them and India has immense potential to leverage from AI as well. Each sector including small and micro enterprises (SMEs), presents huge opportunities with a scope of digital transformation. India truly has immense potential to leverage AI and each sector is a huge opportunity in itself as India leaps ahead with digital transformation in the coming decade.
There is also no denying the fact that India has come a long way from AI being purely dedicated to machine learning on structured numerical data and being significantly limited by data availability. Deep learning and pre-trained systems like Transformer Networks have widened the application of AI to all types of unstructured data, including images, speech, videos, text and social network analysis, and natural language processing. AI has now invaded almost the entire digital realm accelerating automation across industries, creating meaningful user interactions, and leveraging valuable insights from transactions.
There is however still need for democratization of research in AI and the power of huge data for developing 'intelligence' for organizations. In this context, industry and academia need to collaborate with the government with a long-term vision with regards to developing a robust ecosystem that addresses both the needs of basic research and domain specific applied developments. Fast AI adoption is equally important and governments-both at the Centre and at the State levels have a crucial role to play in developing policies which ease the adoption of AI.
The good news about the Indian Startup industry is that it has now become the third-largest country for startups and the best part about it is that a variety of them are driven by AI. We need to create awareness amongst people that AI is not going to replace us. All that AI will do is make things easier for us.
Having said all these, experts are of the view that the Indian AI industry still needs to catch up fast with the other aspects such as readiness, deployment the number of AI researchers. The amalgamation of the right set of people, strong computing infrastructure and the right data, together, can help build a strong AI. This will happen only through robust industry-academia collaboration.
Mind you that in AI, everyone is solving problems and they have to invent solutions. Therefore, everyone working in AI is an entrepreneur as they are all inventing and innovating on a daily basis. While AI and other deep technologies have a significant role to play in the digital transformation, it is not without challenges. There are challenges like driving research in the field of AI, implementation of technologies in SMEs as well as attracting and retaining talent. How the Indian AI sector takes up and overcomes these challenges remains to be seen.