Govt. must drive cross-border collaboration with countries leading in AI research

• MEA & DST may take lead in developing relationships

New Delhi : A recent ASSOCHAM-PwC joint study has suggested the Government to drive cross-border collaboration with countries leading in AI (artificial intelligence) research whereby government departments like the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Department of Science and Technology (DST) may take the lead in developing such relationships.

It suggested that forming cooperative relationships with some of the front runners—such as Japan, the UK (United Kingdom), Germany, Singapore, Israel and China—to develop solutions that tackle social and economic challenges can aid and accelerate strategy formulation in AI, ML (machine learning) and other new-age technologies in India.

Exchanging best practices and learnings from prior initiatives is one way of strengthening cooperation, noted the study titled  Advance artificial intelligence for growth : Leveraging AI & robotics for India’s economic transformation, jointly conducted by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and multinational professional services firm Price waterhouse Coopers (PwC).

The study also suggested that policy planning in AI must be aimed at creating an ecosystem that is supportive of research, innovation and commercialisation of applications.

While academia and the private sector focus their research activities on finding applications with diverse usage, the public sector, with its various schemes (Digital India, Make in India, Skill India, etc.), could identify areas where specific applications of AI and robotics can be utilised to increase reach, effectiveness and efficiency, thus giving direction to existing innovation across different fields.

Setting up digital data banks and exchanges to stream-in information from across industries together with revision of secondary school and university curricula to inculcate interest in AI will help create enabling environment for AI-led growth.

Another enabling factor for AI growth would be setting up centres of excellence supporting inter-disciplinary research across law, medicine, engineering, management and the social sciences.

Highlighting the need for a practical and pragmatic approach towards use of AI, the study said, Government could act as a catalyst in furthering growth by opening training centres focused on equipping young individuals with high-end skills in the field of analytics and ML, which, in turn, could be tied in with inviting data-driven global enterprises to set up their centres of excellence in India.

It added that this could be an extension of the Digital India and National Skill Development initiatives to meet the growing demand of analytical and AI competency, which would be beneficial for country’s human capital.

With a view to ensure that innovation is directed towards effective pursuits and does not clash with human interests, collaborative efforts and ongoing dialogue between the three pillars of AI-based research—academia, the public sector and private sector—should be encouraged.

Thus progress in AI, ML and robotics should follow the needs of businesses and individuals rather than the other way round.

Link to the ASSOCHAM-PwC study : https://www.pwc.in/assets/pdfs/publications/2018/advance-artificial-intelligence-for-growth-leveraging-ai-and-robotics-for-india-s-economic-transformation.pdf

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