A portal to promote artificial intelligence is a good start; the govt must promote start-ups working in the field
Technology’s march was already making human labour redundant in many areas, but the pandemic has hastened the pace of this. A World Bank research highlights that automation threatens 600 million jobs across the world. As for India, 69% of jobs might be lost to automation. These numbers will certainly be offset by some jobs getting created, but the nature of work will undoubtedly be upended. Thus, the Centre has done well to focus on new technologies. After announcing a National Blockchain Strategy, this year’s budget focussed on quantum computing. On Monday, the IT minister announced a national AI portal to dispense information on new developments in the segment.
Although the portal is at an elementary stage at present, and only shells out information on AI courses run by universities and details the work of start-ups using AI, apart from posting research and case studies, it is still significant as knowledge about the technology isn’t as common as it seems. Besides, it has the potential to cover more fields. Once more companies start deploying AI-enabled applications, the portal can also host job-postings and keep the academia updated about industry-demand. Furthermore, if research papers and case studies are released regularly, companies can work with university innovation labs to develop new products. However, if the government is to back an AI strategy, it will also need to partner more such programmes to promote start-ups. While start-ups in agri-tech and med-tech have been around, only a few state governments have gone ahead and partnered with such firms. States and the Centre will have to forge more such associations to promote AI.