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India well-placed to apply AI to solve challenges, tap into opportunities: Nandan Nilekani

Aadhaar architect Nandan Nilekani on Friday said India is well-placed on the government and businesses fronts to leverage artificial intelligence (AI) in unique ways to solve challenges and tap into opportunities.

Nilekani noted that over the last few years, the government has focused on how to make transactions more efficient and effective, which has driven digitisation across the board.

He added that as a byproduct, huge data across systems has been generated and that the time is right to apply AI across the board to India’s most challenging issues across areas like healthcare and education.

On the business front, Indian companies are looking at using AI to solve problems in a big way across the world, and especially after the pandemic that has accelerated digital adoption, Nilekani said during a fireside chat titled ‘Making India a Global Leader of AI’.

“I think India is actually on the cusp of some major AI innovation… both on the business side as well as on the government and national side, we are well placed to really apply AI in a very unique way to India’s challenges as well as opportunities,” he added.

The discussion was organised on the sidelines of the one-year anniversary of INDIAai. INDIAai (The National AI Portal of India) is a joint venture by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), National E-Governance Division (NEGD), and NASSCOM that was set up to prepare the nation for an AI future.

It is a central knowledge hub on artificial intelligence and allied fields for entrepreneurs, students, academics, and professionals.

MeitY Secretary Ajay Sawhney pointed out that AI can be applied to improve services, quality of delivery, and decision-making.

He emphasised that India must recognise that the country’s primary strength lies in scale.

“It is not technology, technology plays on top of the India scale. The data that comes from India scale, the demand comes from India scale, and it creates such a powerful combination when we have data, we have demand, we have talent, we have a supply of services that tremendous amount of innovation can happen on top of that,” he said.

Sawhney said as things progress, one will see the emergence of open, public digital platforms in healthcare, education, urban governance, logistics, and even horizontals like language technologies that will make use of all emerging technologies, which will be facilitated with the skills India has.

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