India chases China in Artificial Intelligence: Forms committee to make roadmap

Artificial Intelligence

To stay parallel with China in emerging technology, the Indian government has formed a committee to make a roadmap to roll out a nationwide Artificial Intelligence (AI) programme. The programme will include robotics and data analytics.

Niti Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar will head the committee, which will lay out a roadmap for India’s research and development on AI and its applications. Among many tasks, the committee will be responsible for coordination and communication among the ministries, reports ET quoting a senior government official.

In January, preliminary meeting has already taken place, which had the presence of many industry officials including NITI Aayog member VK Saraswat, the secretaries of biotechnology and science and technology, former Nasscom head Kiran Karnik, former Infosys CFO Mohandas Pai, IIT faculty members including Pankaj Jalote and Pulok Ghosh.

The next meet up will take place soon, however, the date is not confirmed, the report added.

Entrackr‘s repeated attempt to contact NITI Aayog and its CEO Amitabh Kant on the development has yielded no response.

Indian government does not want to fall behind in emerging technologies and hence observed the urgency to compete with global leaders. While presenting the Union Budget last week, the government entrusted the Aayog with developing a national AI programme.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech, talked about the plan to bring in AI and ML in every aspect of next level of India’s development.

“Global economy is transforming into a digital economy thanks to the development of cutting-edge technologies in digital space, machine learning, artificial intelligence, internet of things, 3D printing and the like. Initiatives such as Digital India, StartUp India, Make in India would help India establish itself as a knowledge and digital society. NITI Aayog will initiate a national program to direct our efforts in the area of artificial intelligence, including research and development of its applications,” Jaitley had said in his Budget speech on February 1.

Under the programme, the government plans to offer incentives to startups and venture funds that undertake application-oriented research on AI across key sectors including banking, insurance, education, health, retail, and transportation.

This will also help in creating workforce for the jobs of the future. Amitabha Kant, in a series of tweets, outlined what government approach will be in AI.

 

In an effort to incorporate technology at every level, the government also plans to replace blackboards with digital boards in government schools. The plan is to start issuing digital certificates on the blockchain (IndiaChain) from the 2019 batch onwards.

Industry experts, however, said that most of the push on AI and ML would depend on the participation of the private sector.

China bullish about AI

Whereas China, which aims to be a world leader in AI, is reportedly building $2.12 billion AI development park city, which can house up to 400 enterprises, in the west of Beijing. The AI park will focus on attracting enterprises that work on big-data, biometric identification, deep learning and cloud computing.

Besides, China has been working locally on series of plans to strengthen investment and research in AI, urging private, public and military firms to cooperate on national AI goals in a development roadmap released in 2017.

The initiative has paid off well as it is attracting foreign large tech companies. In December last year, Google announced a city-based AI research team in China’s capital.

The Chinese government has made AI a national priority. Its policymakers announced plans in last July to develop an industry generating $60 billion of annual output by 2025 and a world leader in the science by 2030.

At present, the US leads in research and development (R&D) expenditure. China is at number two; Japan, Korea, and Germany follow. After Israel, who spends over 4 per cent on research and development, come Russia and India.

The impact of AI is not limited to the single sphere of works. Artificial intelligence is an application, which can be applied in practical technologies in almost all the areas such as computers, information technology services, vehicles, machinery and electricals, publishing, broadcasting, finance, insurance, chemicals, and telecommunications.

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