Niti Aayog’s discussion paper on AI – Sounds promising?

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In the last financial budget, Niti Aoyog was entrusted with the responsibility of laying down a blueprint for guiding Indian government’s efforts towards promoting research in Artificial Intelligence across various Industry sectors. They have now come up with a paper that discusses potential applications of AI in mainly 5 identified sectors of healthcare, education, infrastructure, agriculture and transportation.

Of course the paper is definitely a step in the right direction pointing out the areas which will have a massive impact on the day to day lives of Indians. The idea of fostering collaborative research along with private participation is also a welcome move on part of the government. This will definitely increase the speed and scale of research.

Challenges that we need to tackle have also been captured quite well especially with respect to shortfall in the required talent and also problems related to data security and privacy safeguarding. I think it is important that we debate these issues out in as many forums as possible with equal participation from all stake holders – regulators, government bodies, private firms, consultants and so on.

The one question which I just could not resist asking myself – why the paper only talks about 5 industries? It is conflicting to certain other reports from consulting firms like McKinsey. According to such reports – Telecommunication, BFSI, Retail and Healthcare are considered to be the frontrunners when it comes to the adoption of AI. So are we downplaying some sectors especially BFSI? For example why don’t we consider extending research in AI to address challenges like improving the financial inclusion and digital citizenship of rural India?

Ofcourse it is still early days as to how AI will be applied and adopted across various industry sectors to generate business value and most importantly make the day to day life better for everyone.

 

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