By changing the nature of work and creating better outcomes for businesses and society, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could add $957 billion to the Indian economy, revealed “Rewire for Growth” a report by Accenture.
According to the report, AI has the capacity to amplify India’s annual growth rate of gross value added (GVA) by 1.3 percentage points inflating 15 per cent of the country’s income in 2035.
“AI’s transformative power can be compared to the advent of computing itself, and there’s strong early evidence that AI can play a key role in unlocking socio-economic value in India. The time to act is now. With relevant investments AI can craft a flywheel effect ‘liberating’ people to create long-term economic and societal value,” said Rekha M. Menon, Senior Managing Director and Chairman, Accenture India.
The report delves into the strength of India’s AI innovation ecosystem relative to other G20 economies across five key pillars– Universities, Startups, Large Businesses, Policymakers and Multi-Stakeholder Partnerships. It studies the current state of activity, areas of opportunities and challenges, and finds that even with a tech-savvy talent pool, renowned universities, healthy levels of entrepreneurship and strong corporations, India lags on key indicators of AI development.
The study reports that renowned Indian technical universities have been promoting fundamental research and Artificial Intelligence course, but are not putting sufficient efforts to strengthen the AI ecosystem around them, unlike their global universities such as Cambridge and Oxford in the UK. It further suggests that despite reporting higher than average growth by AI startups in India since 2011, and achieving the third rank among G20 countries measured by the number of AI startups in 2016, the size of funding received for the growth of this segment is considerably smaller than in the United States and China, resulting in the limited success of India’s AI startups in achieving scale so far.
In line with global trends, large businesses will play a key role in unlocking the economic value of AI, with more than 88 percent of businesses in India surveyed by Accenture earlier this year, expecting to make moderate-to-extensive investments in one or more AI-related technologies over the next three years. In addition to this, digital platform companies can portray a pivotal role in leading AI innovations in India, in line with global trends. Also, small and large companies alike will need an enabling environment and policy framework to advance AI-led growth.
The report suggests that to realise the full potential of AI, India needs concentrated effort at the national level, with collaboration between policymakers, civil society and the private sector to:
• Build an AI blueprint: Develop a long-term vision and action plan that unites the ecosystem, and addresses technical and ethical questions as they arise.
• Bolster R&D: Increase spending on core AI research, facilitate ecosystem collaboration for innovation, and create opportunities for smaller players.
• Democratise data: Enable greater access to data, to drive the successful adoption of AI for societal and business needs. • Prepare the next generation: Invest in building multidisciplinary and STEAM skills—science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics—demanded by AI.
• Embrace smart regulation: Set guiding principles on “responsible AI” and develop a regulation that adapts to the shorter innovation cycles of AI to achieve the twin goals of promoting trust and preserving maximum flexibility to innovate.
“The economic boost will be driven by innovative AI technologies that enable people to make more efficient use of their time and do what humans do best – create, imagine and innovate new things. What’s needed is a clear, long-term vision, and a multi-stakeholder action plan that balances growth with the ethical questions posed by AI,” Menon added.