[op-ed snap] A human-centric approach to unlock growth

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Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Basic concepts behind of Artificial Intelligence

Mains level: Article gives a clear picture of Jobs and skilling challenges related to Artificial Intelligence


NEWS

CONTEXT

  • Industry 4.0 is a double-edged sword.
  • On one side, we have an artificial intelligence (AI)-driven $15.7 trillion game-changer that is unfolding.
  • On the other side, it’s this (cutting-edge technologies such as AI) that will disrupt 70% of market leaders across industries in the next 10 years.
  • The availability of relevant talent (or the lack of it) will decide which way industries (and nations) will go.
  • Countries have started to put in place national digital skills strategies, including in Asia.

Changes in Jobs due to the advent of AI

  • it’s about time we put to rest the fear-mongering narrative of job losses and underpinned the real issue—the global skill crisis.
  • Smart machines will replace millions of jobs worldwide, but, newer jobs will be created in greater numbers.
  • The World Economic Forum estimates 75 million jobs may be displaced, but 133 million new roles may emerge globally in a few years.
  • These new jobs will be different and will require higher application of cognitive skills alongside working with deep technologies.

Is Indian IT doing enough towards re-skilling?

  • Many companies have their own learning platforms that are being used extensively.
  • Others are tapping into their partner networks and massive open online courses.
  • Also, as an industry, we need to have deeper engagements with academia, CoEs and research labs to reach our optimum potential.
  • Indian IT is taking convincing strides to sustain its position as the preferred transformational partner for global clients.
  • Towards this, investments of about 10,000 crore oave been earmarked for re-skilling.

Competition from other countries

  • Other nations, such as Singapore, China, France, Canada, and Egypt, have begun to invest significantly towards creating digital talent.
  • As many as 20 countries across the globe have adopted AI National Strategy.
  • Governments worldwide recognise the inevitable shift and are adopting AI, analytics, and allied technologies to deliver citizen-centric services, including rthe eal-time response.

Indian Government’s Response

  • The government doubled its Digital India budget to $480 million in 2018-19, which will be used for research and training in deep tech.
  • In the interim budget this year, the announcement of the National AI Centre, AI portal, and the identification of nine areas to be driven by technology are positive steps towards evangelisation.
  • Karnataka government along with Nasscom has launched a CoE for data science and AI.

Other areas that need reforms

  • Universities will have to re-train to ensure students are employable in the digital era.
  • We produce 2.6 million STEM graduates annually, but their employability is considerably low.
  • Investment in research is another area where we lag. Sponsored research in our top institutions is between $120-140 million annually, while comparable estimates in the American colleges are between $1-1.5 billion.
  • Increasingly, universities will require great access to patient capital.

Conclusion

  • This industry has never been constrained by demand. We have to ensure that we get the supply side of the equation right in real quick time, and policies and strategies must translate into immediate action.
  • The choice is no more about being the bigger fish —but being the faster one.

 

Skilling India – Skill India Mission,PMKVY, NSDC, etc.
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