Even as the experts continue to fiercely debate the bane and boon of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Microsoft chairman and chief executive Satya Nadella has stated that his company will equip more than 20 lakh Indians with AI skills by 2025 and urged business leaders to adopt the evolving technology and not to lose time by sitting on the sidelines. Nadella made his comments on February 7 while speaking at an event in Mumbai.
“We are devoted to equip 2-million-plus people in India with AI skills, that is, really taking the workforce and making sure that they have the right skills in order to be able to be a part of this domain. But it’s not just the skills, it’s even the jobs that they create,” Nadella remarked according to media reports.
The Microsoft boss mentioned Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology statistics and said that of the $5 trillion GDP that India is striving to attain by 2025, about $500 billion would be driven by AI.
While speaking, the Microsoft boss highlighted how the nascent technology is already yielding dividends in breaking down the communication barrier for a vast population of India.
He praised the contribution of GenAI chatbot Jugalbandhi that has been created for government assistance and dwelt on how the Bhashini language translation combined with Jugalbandhi has the potential to transform the lives of rural people who speak Indian languages.
Nadella also brought up the example of the work by Karya, an AI startup which enlists and pays more than 30,000 rural Indians to create quality datasets through speech, text, images and videos. The objective is imparting training large language models in as many as a dozen Indian languages.
Significantly, Elon Musk, the world’s richest person and himself a technology buff, has described AI as the most dangerous technology to be invented by man, that holds far more destructive potential that nuclear technology.
Striking a completely different note, Nadella said, “With AI, now we have a new capability of making sense of digitalisation…a new reasoning engine, which is the neural reasoning engine, which we can apply to an increasingly digitised world. So, these two things, a new user experience and a new reasoning engine pretty much completely revolutionised the entire tech stack, and this ultimately, is going to have an impact on GDP.”
Nadella also mentioned the names of Axis Bank, HCLTech and LTIMindtree as examples of companies that have successfully adopted his company’s Copilot chatbot.
Nadella also urged business leaders to try out Microsoft’s Azure AI suite. He said it would enable them to create their own AI assistants by fine-tuning and retraining foundational models such as OpenAI’s GPT-3, Meta’s Llama models and Mistral AI’s Mistral series.
Puneet Chandok who leads Microsoft in India and South Asia said that startups possess great potential for AI adoption and deploying the technology for innovative use. He also mentioned that India is a land of more than 1 lakh startups and it gives rise to 100 new ones every day.
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