India should take lead in establishing a legal infrastructure on the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to become a front runner, according to a ASSOCHAM-PwC joint study. Titled ‘Leveraging artificial intelligence and robotics for sustainable growth’, the study highlighted how an early public sector interest could trigger a spurt of activity in the AI field in India, instead of waiting for technology to reach a level where regulatory intervention becomes necessary. It also said that a range of application for AI techniques in large-scale public initiatives like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’ could range from crop insurance schemes, tax fraud detection, and detecting subsidy leakage and defence and security strategy, the industry body ASSOCHAM said in a statement issued here.
“If investments are made in the two initiatives without due cognisance of how Industry 4.0 (next industrial revolution driven by robotic automation) may evolve with respect to demand for workforce size and skill sets, there is a possibility of ending up with capital-intensive infrastructures and assets that fall short of being optimised for automated operations,” it added. The report stated ‘Make in India’ initiative which focuses on twin goals of strengthening country’s in-house innovation and production capabilities with added creation of employment opportunities, may not end up creating nearly as many jobs as it is poised to at this point in time.
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Information Technology, manufacturing, agriculture and forestry are certain sectors that are expected to experience shrinkage of employment demand as robotic systems and machine learning algorithms take up several tasks, the report said. Highlighting how AI can be effectively used in execution of government schemes, the report said ‘deep learning’, a part of AI, can be employed to tackle issues of scale often prevalent in such schemes. The study further said in comparison to the West and front runners of AI adoption in Asia, such as China and Korea, the culture and infrastructure needed to develop a base for the adoption of AI in mainstream applications in India is in need of an impetus. Indian academics, researchers and entrepreneurs face a more acute challenge than corporates do in terms of the less than ideal infrastructure available for an AI revolution in India.