India Lags in Artificial Intelligence Readiness Index

by July 17, 2019

Artificial Intelligence

The use of artificial intelligence and such type of emerging technologies is almost prevalent in every industry now. As it has the potential to transform all areas of people’s lives, the need for updated skill sets, attitudes, and practices is hard to ignore.

But in a recently published report, India scores low in consumer understanding of AI that translates into an unwillingness to trust the technology. Revealed in the Salesforce’s “Asia Pacific AI Readiness Index”, Singapore leads the region in overall AI readiness with a score of 63, which is followed by Hong Kong that stands at second place with 56.5 and India with 50.2.

The Index further stated that despite great awareness, consumers do not necessarily understand the way AI technologies work. Since AI has the potential to transmute all areas of people’s lives, from healthcare, agriculture, and sanitation to education, transport, and urbanisation, the technology will certainly redesign the workforce and employment opportunities in India.

The report indicated that the country needs to begin upgrading the skills of its workforce and rethink education and training programs. Advanced skills must focus on abstract, problem-solving skills as well as capabilities that are most difficult to automate.

Salesforce’s AI Readiness Index also emphasized the governments’ role in making AI adoption a national priority. And cited three major policy priorities can be implemented in the region: develop AI talent and encourage the ethical use of AI in schools and institutions; encourage public-private partnerships to make AI a key part of inclusive growth and positive social outcomes; establish regional policy frameworks to support wider AI development and adoption.

The index report said that “However, it is important to note that government use of AI is still in its infancy. In APAC as elsewhere, departments and agencies are challenged by the need to implement new technologies and hire staff with the appropriate skills – all while navigating bureaucracies’ natural risk aversion”.

Earlier this month, in a move towards skilling and reskilling millions of Indian youth to embrace to new age technology and job roles, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that the government will now focus on new-age skills like artificial intelligence and IoT (Internet of Things) to help them get jobs overseas.

In her speech during presenting union budget 2019, the finance minister said that focus under Skill India mission will be to train youth in different languages to prepare them for global jobs.

If we look on a Nasscom report, around 40% of India’s total workforce has to be reskilled over the next five years to fit with emerging tech trends like AI, IoT, machine learning, blockchain, among others. When it comes to India’s total workforce, so it stands at approximately 500 million, of which at least 200 million would need reskilling to match industry requirements.