Approach to Writing Mains Answer on 9-12-2020

Topic: Developments in Science and Technology

Qn. “ Explain the role that Artificial Intelligence can play in India’s Growth story for the 21st century ? Is India prepared enough to not miss the AI train ?” (250 words)

Why this Question ?

The question captures the importance and significance of Artificial Intelligence in driving forward the Growth of India in the upcoming years. The Editorial in today’s Hindu Newspaper discusses the strategy that

India should follow so as to harness the potential of AI in the years to come.

The introduction for the question has to define Artificial Intelligence in general and can bring in the recent applications in different sectors in the economy.

Introduction:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to the use of computing to deliver intelligent outcomes.Artificial intelligence has been widely used in various fields starting from consumer preferences, logistics and supply to medical diagnosis. NASSCOM estimates that AI and associated activities would contribute to $500 billion by 2025, around 10% of the Indian dream of $5 trillion.

Significance of AI in fueling India’s Growth story :

1.Making health care accessible to all – AI based cancer diagnosis have been tested and found to cost a fraction of the expensive tests.

2.Efficient supply chains – better forecast of demand and efficient movement and transportation of goods.

3.Smart consumption of electricity and energy. – A vital link to achieve smart cities in India.

4.Job creation – 20 million technical jobs are expected to be created.

5.Better Governance and policing – predictive and real time governance. Makes citizen interaction with the government easier and simpler.

Is India prepared enough to not miss the AI train ? Early moves :-

1.NITI Aayog’s

National Strategy developed by NITI Aayog has identified sectors such as health care, education,retail,agriculture,smart cities and infrastructure as critical areas where AI led solutions can be implemented.These areas earmarked can lead to social impacts beyond the economic impacts.

2.  Government push from different state governments. 

States such as Telangana, Karnataka and Tamilnadu have developed policies and strategies for early AI adoption.Technology companies have already established centres of excellence in these states and this allows technical pool of resources to develop. These early interventions have resulted in the development of around 5 lakh people working on AI based sectors.

Much needs to be done.

1.Data Security – Since AI relies on extensive data collection and usage for analysis, a clear and robust data protection policy is the key. Until the boundaries are not clearly defined concerns around the usage and storage of data can be a significant barrier in promoting the adoption of AI.

2.Availability of clean Data sets – A data set has to be usable. Devoid of noise and randomness can help greatly in further processing of the data collected. While most AI firms specialize in data collection, we have to go a long way in ensuring the data collected is clean enough to be used for AI related analysis and usage. This requires more investment in Data Management Frameworks that can improve the outcome of the future AI models.

3.Improving our talent pool – In 2019, we have doubled our AI talent pool from 40000 to 72000. This is still not sufficient to meet the excessive demand that is not met. This would only result in AI based services moving offshore. Since this is a cutting edge field, India cannot be complacent with the availability of cheap workforce in the software sector. Instead what is required is the availability of a high quality workforce. India has to become a product design and development capital of the world instead of merely servicing and maintaining the customers abroad.

Conclusion:

There have been such inflexion points in the technological history of civilizations in the past. While earlier breakthroughs in automobile and electronics have eluded Indian participation, this is an opportunity that India can hardly miss out to realize its dream of a $5 trillion economy by 2025. The future of AI is promising. For India to convert this potential into reality, India will need better strategies around talent development, stronger policies for data usage and more investments in creating technology infrastructure that can leverage the advantages of AI.