India's Role in AI Should Move towards Being a Product Driver in the World The AI race is just starting and India wants to play a big role in it.
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Seventy-five per cent of Indians use artificial intelligence tools on a daily basis, according to Slack's 'State of Work' report. India has proudly been the tech talent pool for global giants for a long, and now it's also boasting of being one of the top AI adopters in the world.
December 5th, 2022 will go down in history as the date that launched thousands of AI startups and tools, courtesy of OpenAI's ChatGPT. But a lot has taken place in the past few months, with the AI market emerging as one of the leading choices for budding entrepreneurs. A recent NASSCOM report stated that over 60 active start-ups existed in the generative AI section in the country.
The AI race is just starting and India wants to play a big role in it. During a panel discussion on 'Is AI the Next Growth Barometer?' at the Entrepreneur 2023 Summit in New Delhi, one belief echoed by the industry players was- India needs to step up.
Moderated by Gagandeep Reehal, Co-Founder and CEO, Minus Zero, the panel comprised Amitabh Roy Chowdhury, Co-founder, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, Prisma AI group of companies; Ranjan Kumar, Founder and CEO, Entropik; and Ajit PatilCo-Founder and Managing Director, DeepTek.ai.
So what role is India playing in the ecosystem? What will take India to become an AI leader? "Largely there are three levers of drivers in India to take the country to the next stage we want. One is what is the core proprietary built-up that's happening? Are we fundamentally creating technologies itself or are we developing applications? The second is, if you want to disrupt that, what are the essential ecosystem plays that are required? Some core aspects are the availability of talent and the innovation ecosystem," shares Ranjan Kumar, Founder and CEO, Entropik.
Adding onto the point and answering 'Are we just application developers or core product developers?', Amitabh Roy Chowdhury, Co-founder, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, Prisma AI shares "We still don't have an Oracle equivalent from India. The moral of the story- we are still in IT applications, and service providers, with very few successful core product developments due to late entry into the space. Fortunately, AI is relatively newer and India has been lucky to jump on this bandwagon. And I hope India will be the product driver in the world going ahead."
A National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) report shared that 65 per cent of American AI companies were founded or co-founded by immigrants; ten of the top AI firms were the brainchild of Indian immigrants.
One cannot deny the fact that the foundation of such technologies is built in the West. So, where is India missing in the core product development? "I feel more optimistic about India's potential to make a big impact in the AI economy. I agree the core fundamental technologies are still not being developed in India. But AI is a very large opportunity. And I think the core fundamental technologies may not get developed in India, we don't have the ecosystem for that maybe. But beyond it we have core platforms; we will have other tools and technologies which will assist developers and more importantly the applications," shares Ajit Patil, Co-Founder and Managing Director, DeepTek.ai.
He feels India is positioned optimistically to capture the global leadership in the space. "It's an ambitious statement. But the reason I feel that is data. India, courtesy of our IT Service industry for so many years, is already the talent pool of the world. And talent and data can do the magic," he adds. For instance, Deeptek has a humungous repository of medical data, which might not be available for a majority of economies.
Gagandeep Reehal, Co-Founder and CEO, Minus Zero feels that the industry has a brute-force learning method, the more data it's fed, the bigger and better the model is, "AI cannot reason and that is why, when you are not risking life or death decision on AI, it's working very well. But wherever it comes, for instance, autonomous driving, there it becomes tricky. It's impossible to count for every variation that can happen out there."
On being asked if is it the right time to regulate the AI industry, Patil feels that in the long run, AI can create an existential challenge for the human race. "To be able to hold that situation is going to be very difficult. All the countries and companies have to come together and abide by the ethics of AI, which kind of goes against the principles of capitalism. And I don't think it will happen easily. But what we can do now is bring in the responsible AI as an important fabric of your AI," he concludes.