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Indian, German Experts Discuss AI and Its Implementation

Indian and German scientific experts discussed five selected thematic areas of mutual interest related to artificial intelligence (AI) and its implementation at a joint virtual workshop. Participants discussed AI for sustainability, healthcare, autonomous robotics, secure AI, and mathematical foundations. The workshop was organised by the Indo-German Science and Technology Centre (IGSTC), the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), and the Indian Department of Science and Technology (DST).

The workshop, which was held earlier this week, was organised as a follow-up of the decision to strengthen and enhance the cooperation in the field of AI taken during the governmental consultations between two countries in November 2019. As per a press release, the Indian Co-Chair of IGSTC and Head-International division of DST and the German Co-Chair spoke about strengthening academia and industry partnerships and enhancing cooperation to help society, particularly in the field of AI, machine learning, and robotics.

According to an official, Germany is focusing on expanding its economy with AI. India is a strong partner in AI, and the recommendation of the Scientific Advisory Board from the workshop could maximise the impact of the measures. Head-FFT DST explained that globally AI is a very active research topic, and efforts should be made so that India and Germany can cooperate and augment the collaboration. There are numerous issues to address like upgrading of the technology, skill development, and job creation in this field. Academia and industry need to be leveraged in this field, and products need to be geared up, he said. The workshop was accompanied by two plenary lectures, followed by invited lectures and plenary sessions.

Last year, Germany released a plan for AI with India as a partner. FAIR Forward – Artificial Intelligence for All, a German Development Cooperation initiative, works with five partner nations-Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda, and India-to promote an open, inclusive, and sustainable approach to AI globally. One focus area of the programme is to create open voice datasets in Indian languages.

Machine learning, AI, computer programming, and deep learning have become the top online courses taken up by Indians, according to a recent report by an online learning platform, Coursera. About 10.6 million Indians have registered on the platform to date, falling behind only the United States. The findings come at a time when online learning has taken over traditional classroom lessons.

Other popular courses include Javascript, blockchain, the Internet of things, web development, and C programming. These courses are also popular in other countries such as Germany, Russia, China, Australia, and Saudi Arabia. India ranked 67th among 104 nations in terms of digital skills. It placed ahead of Myanmar, Uzbekistan, and Bhutan, but could not match countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan, indicating a lack of digital and data skills.

Digital skills have become important as technology is powering most industries. The pandemic also displaced millions of workers worldwide. India showed a 38% proficiency in technology and data science, falling behind countries including the Republic of Korea, Nepal, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka. It showed 13% proficiency in computer programming, 14% in mobile development, and 25% in data analysis. The pace of skills transformation is slower than the pace of digital transformation in India and learners must invest in soft and technical skills to prepare for jobs of the future.

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