Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed hope that India would become a global hub for artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and many more Indians would start working on this in the time to come.
“Now, we want India to become a global hub for AI. Many Indians are already working on this. I hope many more do so in the times to come. Our approach to this is powered by core principles of teamwork, trust, collaboration, responsibility and inclusivity,” he said in his inaugural address at RAISE 2020, a mega-virtual summit on AI on Monday.
RAISE 2020 is a global meeting of minds to exchange ideas and chart a course for using AI for social transformation, inclusion and empowerment in sectors like healthcare, agriculture, education and smart mobility, among others.
Prime Minister Modi praised the organisers for encouraging discussion on AI. He said technology has transformed the workplace and had improved connectivity. He hoped the merger between social responsibility and AI would enrich AI with the human touch. He said the teamwork of AI with humans can do wonders for the planet.
He pointed out that India had led the world in knowledge and learning and will continue to digitally excel and delight the world. He said India had experienced the role played by technology in improving transparency and service delivery.
“In India, we have experienced that technology improves transparency and service delivery. We are home to the world's largest unique identity system, Aadhaar. We also have the world’s most innovative digital payments system-UPI. This has enabled providing access to digital services, including financial services, like direct cash transfers to the poor and marginalised. In the pandemic situation, we saw how India's digital readiness was of great help. We reached out to people with help, at the earliest and in the most efficient manner,” said Prime Minister Modi.
He added that the country was rapidly expanding its optical fibre network to provide every village with high-speed internet connectivity.
NEP Focused on Technology-Based Learning
The prime minister said India had recently adopted the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020, which focused on technology-based learning and skilling as a major part of education. He added e-courses would also be developed in various regional languages and dialects. This whole effort will benefit from the natural language processing (NLP) capabilities of AI platforms. He said more than 11,000 school students had completed the ‘Responsible AI for Youth’ programme launched in April 2020. These students were now developing their own AI projects.
“The National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) is being formed. This will create an e-education unit to boost the digital infrastructure, digital content and capacity. Virtual labs are being established to provide hands-on experience to learners. We have also launched the Atal Innovation Mission to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. Through these steps, we aim to keep pace with emerging technologies for people's benefit,” he declared.
The prime minister also said the National Programme on Artificial Intelligence will be dedicated to solving problems of society.
He envisioned a major role for AI in sectors like agriculture, next-generation urban infrastructure, addressing urban issues like reducing traffic jams, improving sewage systems and laying energy grids, making disaster management systems stronger and solving the problem of climate change. He suggested the use of AI in seamlessly bridging the language barriers and preserving the diversity of languages and dialects. He also suggested using AI for knowledge sharing.
He said algorithm transparency was key to establishing trust in how AI is used and was our collective responsibility to ensure that.
He also urged to protect the world against weaponisation of AI by non-state actors. He said human creativity and human emotions continued to be our greatest strength and unique advantage over machines. He urged everyone to think about how this intellectual edge over machines could be retained to ensure human intelligence was always a few steps ahead of AI.
Prime Minister Modi said that AI would unlock the unique potential of each person to empower them to contribute more effectively to society. He urged the participants to exchange ideas and chart a common course for the adoption of the technology. He hoped that the action roadmap for responsible AI created out of the discussion would help in transforming the lives and livelihoods of people globally.