India’s emerging grammar in the technological domain finds an expression in ‘Make AI For India’ and ‘Make AI Work For India.’ With India ranking first in terms of Artificial Intelligence (AI) skill penetration and AI talent concentration, the growth trajectory of the nation can be mapped positively. Estimated to add a whopping $500 billion to the Indian economy by 2025, AI’s possibilities in the nation are truly endless.

Much editorial ink has been spilled to address the breakthrough of generative AI. ChatGPT, Open AI’s artificial intelligence chatbot, accumulated more than 100 million users in two months, rendering it the fastest innovation in history to garner this user base. With intensively trained language models and diffusion models, the results generated are mighty impressive. Investors are keeping a close eye on the conversational AI sector, which also features prominent Indian startups of Uniphore and Gupshup, which turned unicorns in 2022 and late 2021 respectively, along with Haptik and Verloop. The primary focus of over 1,900 AI-focused startups in the country is on conversational AI, natural language processing (NLP), video analytics, disease detection, fraud prevention, and deep fake detection.

The rapid development of technology gives rise to the need to foster a responsible and safe AI space. A more pertinent need is the need to learn how to use AI tools. Prompt engineering is an emerging field that aims to optimise simple inputs to render results that are truly unique. A recent article by ‘The Atlantic’ highlighted this skill, that is an established link between “programming and prose,” as the most important job skill of the century. INDIAai, a Meity, NEGD, NASSCOM initiative, organised a roundtable in February 2023, bringing together experts from IISc Bangalore, Global AI Ethics Institute, IBM Research India and Fluid AI, among others, to forecast the development trajectory of generative AI and address issues regarding ethics and intellectual property rights’ concerning AI at large.

In every challenge lies an opportunity, and the opportunity in this scenario is immense, if rightly maneuvered. Refocusing businesses to determine business areas—customer service, operations, supply chain—that need to be rethought to augment high-skilled work with AI will effectively reorganise the ecosystem. AI partnership should be employed to gather information and insights that are actionable. This becomes most essential in the context of sustainability.

The Indian opportunity in the digitisation race that never ends is ripe to be harvested. The global macrotrends indicate an ageing demographics, while India harbours the largest youth population in the world with 65 percent of Indians being under 35 years old. The talent base in India’s technological industry stood at 3.8M in FY2021. Second only to China, India has an annual STEM graduate supply of 2.14 M. Renowned for its deep expertise and innovation, India’s continued investments in skilling and upskilling will provide it with a strategic dividend. A study found that the Indian cities of Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Chennai are the most appealing places to establish an artificial intelligence (AI) office due to their abundant software engineering talent pools and comparatively low operational expenses. 

A leader in the deployment of digital public infrastructure (DPI), India is set to accommodate AI into its folds to yield greater service excellence. Numerous sectors across various industries are harnessing the potential of AI technologies to enhance production and increase profits. A pilot project developed in-house by the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) was recently tested by the Indian Railways. The AI program takes into account various factors such as train origin and destination, timings, class of accommodation, and availability of alternative trains to automate the best possible ticket allocation and reduce wait lists. The pilot project has been implemented for over 200 trains. In agriculture, AI is being employed through techniques such as weather pattern modelling and geospatial imaging to optimise crop yields. The medical field is improving medical image analysis to detect life-threatening illnesses earlier and enable more effective treatment plans. In the education sector, new AI-powered technologies are helping the identification of at-risk pupils, forecasting enrollment, and prognosticating outcomes. 

The Indian government has also been supportive of the expansion of the AI sector. The Government’s National Informatics Centre (NIC) provides cloud-based platforms to facilitate AI services such as AI-Manthan that specialises in deep learning models, AI-Vani which is suited for chatbots and voice services, and AI-Satyapikaanan that is optimised for biometric technologies like face recognition. The National Artificial Intelligence Portal and the National AI Mission have been developed to encourage the development and adoption of AI throughout the nation. The MeitY Startup Hub and the National e-Government Plan are positioned to further the cause of information technology. Three Centres for Excellence (CoE) for AI, as announced by the Union Budget 2023, will be set up in top educational institutions, allowing leading industry players to partner in conducting interdisciplinary research and develop cutting-edge applications and scalable problem solutions in areas of agriculture, health, and sustainable cities. 

India's wealth of talented individuals, culture of innovation, and unwavering dedication to research and development hold the key to transforming the global AI landscape and rendering the nation a $10 trillion-dollar economy.

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