Machine Learning! 2.5 million students in the country to train on AI soon

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March 3, 2020 4:30 AM

The AI Base Module will be implemented across 5,000 Atal Tinkering Labs, and will be available to 2.5 million students; a Mint report also speaks of an AI Step-Up Module, which incorporates an advanced curriculum, being under development.

Access to technology from partner companies like Microsoft, Adobe, and others is certainly a big plus. (Representative image)Access to technology from partner companies like Microsoft, Adobe, and others is certainly a big plus. (Representative image)

Last week, NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), in collaboration with the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) launched an artificial intelligence (AI) based module for Indian school students. The AI Base Module will be implemented across 5,000 Atal Tinkering Labs, and will be available to 2.5 million students; a Mint report also speaks of an AI Step-Up Module, which incorporates an advanced curriculum, being under development. Access to technology from partner companies like Microsoft, Adobe, and others is certainly a big plus.

Aimed at bridging the skills gap in India—as per government data, less than 5% of the workforce is formally skilled, compared to, say, 28% in China and 75% in Germany—the initiative is, indeed, a commendable step forward, and in keeping with the government’s efforts to democratise technology. AI and machine learning touted to form the basis of the future of work—it is estimated that within a decade, the global market for AI is likely to be upwards of $15 trillion, with India’s share in this being close to $1 trillion—and this initiative, by providing young minds a hands-on method to learn AI, is a first step toward preparing a workforce that is ready for the digital era. This, however, cannot be the end of the road. The government must focus not only on expanding this, as well as other digital literacy initiatives, to every district in India but also on strengthening its skill development infrastructure at the graduate level—addressing the shortcomings of the Industrial Training Institutes, etc.

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