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AI to double innovation and productivity in India by 2021

AI is likely to more than double the rate of innovation and employee productivity in India by 2021, said a recent study.

Although only one-third of organisations in India have adopted AI tech, these companies expect it to increase their competitiveness by 2.3 times in 2021. This is according to the study that surveyed 200 business leaders and 202 workers in the country.

The survey highlights that 77% of business leaders polled agreed that AI is instrumental for their organisation’s competitiveness. The survey was conducted with 1,560 business decision makers in mid and large-sized organisations across 15 economies in the region.

The study said that last year, organisations that adopted AI saw tangible improvements in those areas in the range of 8% to 22%. They forecast further improvements of at least 2.1 times in the three-year horizon, with the biggest jump expected in higher margins, and higher competitiveness.

For organisations in India, the top reasons for adopting AI were higher competitiveness (24% of respondent chose it as number one driver), accelerated innovation (21%), better customer engagement (15%), higher margins (14%) as well as more productive employees (9%).

The study evaluated six dimensions critical to ensuring the success of a nation’s AI journey. According to the findings, India needs to build upon its investment, data, and strategy in order to accelerate its AI journey. The study also underlines the need for cultural changes and skilling and reskilling workforces to make AI work for the country.

According to an industry expert, to succeed in the AI race, India needs to substantially improve its readiness. Leaders should make AI a core part of their strategy and develop a learning agility culture. Investment in this transformative technology has to be continuous for long-term success. There is an urgent need for talents and tools to develop, deploy and monitor AI models, along with the availability of a robust data estate with adequate governance.

In 2018, India’s policy commission, the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) released a national policy on AI in a discussion paper, the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence.

It identified five key areas where AI development could enable both growth and greater inclusion: healthcare, agriculture, education, smart-city infrastructure, and transportation and mobility.

It also covered five obstacles to AI growth: lack of research expertise, absence of enabling data ecosystems, high resource cost and low awareness for adoption, lack of regulations around privacy and security, and absence of a collaborative approach to adoption and applications.

The paper proposed a two-tiered framework for promoting AI research. This included the creation of Centres of Research Excellence in AI (COREs), which will be academic research hubs, and International Centres for Transformational Artificial Intelligence, which will be industry-led.

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