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Industry & Academia should work towards making India leader in global Digital Space

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The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEIT) on yesterday organized a day long workshop on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its applications for good governance. Held under the chairmanship of Hon’ Minister for Electronics and Information Technology, Over 30 representatives from the industry and academia took part in the workshop. These include AI experts from the IITes at Kharagpur, Madras, Hyderabad and Patna. Industry representatives included Microsoft, Google, IBM, Accenture, NVIDIA. NASSCOM and IIIT Hyderabad also gave their views on the strategy to take advantage of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technology.

Union Minister of Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice, SH. Ravi Shankar Prasad has called upon industry and academia engaged in the development and use of AI to join hands in developing AI model which is capable of addressing complex problems in the field of health, education, agriculture and governance. Speaking at the workshop held here to exchange ideas on the use of AI for good governance, he said the government was keen to support such initiative as its development model is based on inclusive growth. He went on to add that AI had the potential to leap frog India to its true potential of being a world leader in the digital space.

Acknowledging, the work that has already been done in the field by the US and China, the Minister added that India’s model of uptake and scale-up of AI will be one that is indigenous to India and is built on the principle of augmenting intelligence and not the displacement of jobs. He underscored his government’s commitment to retraining and skilling people such that they are able to adapt, adopt and thrive in the dynamically changing society. The Minister also emphasized the need for taking a multi-stakeholder approach to developing the ecosystem for AI in India, committing that the government to its end would help facilitate interactions between the industry, government and academia and will come up with a robust legal framework for the same.

The industry and academia present in the workshop were unanimous in seeking support for getting clean data for evolving effective solutions through the application of AI. They also opined that the government should define policy priorities in the application of AI. This would facilitate them in pursuing a strategy that would benefit the country most. Data has to be available for innovation and India being a country with large number of languages and dialects need to translate data in a usable format. Country has all ingredients to be a hub center for data analysis.

During the discussions that followed the presentations made by various stakeholders, there was unanimous agreement amongst the participants that India should focus its AI initiative to solving complex development challenges. The participants suggested that AI applications had a potential to help improve food and water security for the country, help improve traffic management and also help expedite particular types of cases in the judiciary. Responding to a query raised by one of the participants, the Minister said that data privacy is an important tenet of an individual’s rights, but also stressed on the point that innovation cannot be curbed under the garb of privacy. The Minister also mentioned that the country is well set to bring out a comprehensive policy on Data Protection and a committee under Justice (retd.) Sri Krishna will shortly finalize its recommendations.