India is ramping up efforts to increase technology education in schools and universities to shape its students into leading innovators of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) revolution.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently announced an INR30.7 billion (US$474 million) investment – double the previous allocation – into the Digital India program,e, which aims to provide Internet to rural areas of India and improve digital literacy in AI, 3-D printing and other contemporary technologies, according to Analytics India Magazine.
The department of science is also set to open centres of excellence which will invest in research, training in digital manufacturing, big data analysis, quantum communication, and the Internet of Things (IOT), according to Quartz.
“Technologies such as Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and others are the technologies of the future and NITI Aayog [The National Institution for Transforming India] will establish a national programme to conduct research and development in these areas,” Arun told Your Story.
We will have a better society where education is available for all, to aid better healthcare & quality of life for all- India has a big role for education and for AI reaching its full potential in making a difference! @AndrewNG @cousera #nasscom_ilf @NasscomEvents pic.twitter.com/8Cnms19zFJ
— Sadhana Somasekhar (@Pt_Sadhana) February 19, 2018
The bid to improve technology skills among the country’s youth is also to accelerate the country’s aim of achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, as well as developing its economy in the growing tech sector.
To this end, India is looking to walk in the footsteps of global economic powerhouses such as China and the US, recognising the potential of future workers being skilled in AI and contemporary technology, explained Quartz.
“It’s extremely encouraging to see the government recognize the need for research in cutting-edge technologies,” Subrat Kar, CEO and co-founder of Noida-based video intelligence platform Vidooly, was quoted saying in the publication.
He said NITI Aayog will, “allow us [India] to indigenously develop technologies on par with our Silicon Valley counterparts, and reduce dependency on them.”
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also expressed India’s commitment to utilising new technology to benefit the country and its people.
Can the combination of teachers and AI help us bridge the gap in teacher student ratio. This will help us deliver quality education to every student across India. Can AI help take quality healthcare to every corner of India by expanding capacities of healthcare workers: PM
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) February 18, 2018
“The road ahead for AI depends on and will be driven by ‘Human Intentions’. It is our intention that will determine the outcomes of AI,” Modi said in a recent speech at the Wadhwani Institute of Artificial Intelligence, according to The News Minute. The institute is based at the University of Mumbai’s Kalina campus.
“Can AI help us predict natural calamities? Can it help us detect serious health conditions before they manifest physically? Can AI help our farmers make the right decisions regarding weather, crop and sowing cycles,” he asked.
AI has the potential to create jobs in the technology sectors, increase efficiency in manufacturing industries and improve individuals quality of life, according to Your Story.
With Modi’s direction and consistent investment in technological education, AI has the potential to drive India towards its social and economic goals.