From Legacy to Leader: India’s Rise as a Powerhouse in AI Development

India AI and Robotics

AI is not a new thing anymore. It successfully integrated into our lives and transformed unimaginably. India which aims to become a technological hub in the world puts AI Development as a top priority to enhance Technological advancements and significantly achieve economic growth.

Let’s look at the history of AI.

Origin of AI

You wouldn’t believe but AI has been known for many years. It all started during the 1950s when the name artificial Intelligence was coined by John McCarthy in 1956. Since then, AI has continued to progress to such an extent that today we have self-driving cars, speech recognition systems, and humanoid robots. 

Emergence of AI in India 

AI was first introduced to India by Prof.H.N.Mahabala who laid the foundation for computer science by starting India’s first computer science program in 1965 at IIT Kanpur. However, the Research in AI took time and finally was conducted in 1986 when the government of India launched the knowledge-based computing systems program with the help of the United Nations Development Program(UNDP) as a part of the Indian fifth-generation computer system program. It was a five-year project that aimed to conduct research programs to support cooperation among the research centres and also provide solutions to the socio-economic problems in India. The major areas of research are parallel processing, logic programming environments, expert systems for government administration and medical applications. Not just that, a Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics was established in October 1986 by DRDO to primarily focus on AI and robotics.

 In the early 1990s, CAIR developed nipuna, an expert system shell that is capable of making human like decisions to solve complex problems and is used to monitor the health of radors. 

The Rise of AI development in India

Research in AI has flourished in India through research works in IIT Kanpur, IIT Madras, and IIT Kharagpur. According to the Global AI Talent Report 2018, India ranks tenth globally in terms of PhDs and thirteenth in terms of presentations in AI/ML.

Understanding the significance of AI, India’s finance minister mandated Niti Aayog to establish the National Program to support research and developments in new technologies. NITI Aayog’s main objective is to integrate AI in fields like education, agriculture, healthcare, smart cities, infrastructure, and transportation.

According to Stanford University’s AI Index report in 2023, India was ranked fifth in terms of investments received by startups related to AI. As per data, India received a total investment of $3.24 billion in 2022. Between 2013 and 2022 India’s AI companies received $7.73 billion making it the sixth-highest country. 

AI in Healthcare

According to the report, AI expenditure increased by over 108% in 2018 which is about $665 million. It is estimated to be $11.78 billion in 2025.

AI in healthcare assists in creating clinical decision support systems, and self-learning systems in the fields of radiology and pathology. AI is used for the detection of diseases and diagnoses like TB diagnosis and the NITI Aayog is working with Microsoft and forus health to use AI for the early detection signs of DR in diabetic patients.

In the COVID-19 pandemic, CT scans are not affordable in rural areas. To face this challenge DRDO developed ATMAN AI which uses chest X-rays to detect COVID lung-induced abnormalities.

AI in Education

AI is revolutionising education by enabling personalized learning through which students can learn at their own pace. We also know how generative AI tools like chatgpt are helping students and also teachers. Approximately 60% of educators are already using these tools. The National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) and Diksha are well-known OER (open educational resource) platforms initiated by the Government of India.

AI in Agriculture

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare in India employs Artificial Intelligence to address various challenges in the agriculture sector and help in building our economy as we often hear how agriculture is the backbone of our country. If you wonder how can AI help in agriculture then you should know about the problems faced by farmers during farming. 

Now we will see how India is integrating AI in its agriculture sector. The government has undertaken some initiatives such as

  1. Kisan e-Mitra: It is an AI-powered chatbot that is designed to address queries about the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme. This solution supports multiple languages.
  2. Development of the Kisan Suvidha mobile application : This assists farmers by providing all the information such as weather conditions, Market prices, soil health cards, farm machinery, and inputs like fertilizer, seeds, and pesticide dealing.
  3. Development of My Ciphet mobile application: It assists farmers by providing the required information regarding the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) developed post-harvest technologies, products and machinery.
  4. Using machine learning process along with different computer algorithms for crop classification and area estimation.

You might have also heard about agritech startups that are revolutionising agriculture by providing tech-based innovative solutions.

You can watch this video to learn about agritech startups and how they are helping the farmers.

AI and Employment

Job displacement has become one of our biggest worries since AI has taken over the world. Many people shared their worries regarding this. Several reports indicated that AI would lead to the creation of new jobs. Accenture (2017), a multinational company, based on its the analysis stated that AI has the potential to add USD 957 billion to India’s economy in 2035. 

There are some genuine concerns regarding widespread loss in our IT sector. Gent (2017) has argued that “rapidly improving automation technology is allowing software to carry out routine IT support work and repetitive back-office tasks previously performed by humans”. Tasks like this can be automated and due to this many people may lose their jobs. But there are some domains where jobs can be created.The Task Force on AI, constituted by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in its report (MoCI, 2018) had declared ten important domains, where AI can play a critical role in India’s economic transformation. These domains are manufacturing, fin-tech, healthcare, agriculture/food processing, education, retail/consumer engagement, aid for differently-abled/accessibility technology, environment, national security and public utility services.

AI has immense potential to change the economy of India by contributing to the growth of different sectors like agriculture, infrastructure, education and more. While it is true that AI can replace jobs in some sectors, it can also significantly create new jobs like AI Project Managers, AI Ethicists, and Machine Learning Engineers. In this way, AI can be a key source for the economic transformation of India.