We have entered the era of Big Data, Cloud Computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is currently in a swift development phase and continuously making technological advances. India has been a growing hub for business and ranks among the most attractive investment destinations for technology transactions in the world. In recent times, the country has focused on technology, realising that it is a key component of economic development. The government has been extensively promoting research, business incubators and parks, and has been improving on the Global Innovation Index position since 2016. This year the Ministry of Science and Technology has been allotted its largest budget till date by the Government of India.
To put it in very simple terms, AI is about creating and working on intelligent machines to make them act and react like humans. AI is set to transform the way humans and machines interact as it is convenient and time-saving.
The Indian cloud computing market, currently at $2.2 billion, is expected to grow to $4 billion by 2020 with an annual growth rate of more than 30% and is expected to see more than a million job roles according to a report by Great Learning.
NASSCOM: A trade association for Indian IT businesses has anticipated that the Indian analytics trade will reach $16 billion value by the year 2025, and that is said to be somewhere around 32% of the world market.
Not just the IT business, but in other industries, too, Big Data, along with Artificial Intelligence, is creating an impact. The logistics business has seen a growth with the delivery of cargo becoming faster and also trackable in real time, thereby improving the processes involved. It has also resulted in automated healthcare systems and made it more structured. Even marketers are using the data to identify the behaviour and needs of the consumers.
The latest study states that AI will double the rate of innovation and employee efficiency in the country.
According to Microsoft’s statement, the survey (conducted with 1,560 business decision makers in mid- and large-sized organisations across 15 economies in the region) highlights that while 77% of business leaders polled agreed that AI is instrumental for their organisation’s competitiveness, only one-third of organisations in India have embarked on their AI journeys. Those companies that have adopted AI expect it to increase their competitiveness by 2.3 times in 2021.
Going by the above study, AI is tipped to increase the rate of innovation in India by about 230% in just two years. It might also improve customer engagement as well as create more productive employees.
As a country, India has been, in recent times, focusing on research but is still far from catching up with the world leaders. With time, the government is going to play a vital role in promoting AI and research on AI, Big Data and Cloud Computing. The government can use Big Data and Artificial Intelligence to find patterns and trends to flag accounts with sizeable black money deposits. Another area is the agricultural sector, which contributes a sizeable amount to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is a substantial workforce in the country. But recently this sector has seen a decline and AI can help come up with techniques that can be applied in real time.
The State Bank of India is another example of Big Data and houses the world’s largest data warehouse which could boost the banking sector. State governments have also begun the use of data-driven governance and state administration. This will help in transparency and help launch real-time performance systems in all departments and also help with insights of government policies.
There is also a growing need to manage huge volumes of data and make them readily accessible and available for use; this is enabled through cloud computing. The concept of Digital India has been hugely promoted, and cloud is going to play a pivotal role in the mission of expanding the digital footprint of the country. It would also help with cost reduction for infrastructure, reducing expenditure which could be invested, with better results, elsewhere.
AI is based on cutting edge technology, and one challenge it will face is software malfunctioning; another key challenge is the investment, setting it up is a very costly affair, and not everyone would be willing to set it up or invest in it. Another thing the success of AI relies on is data, and that is a concern as Big Data often contains sensitive and personal data, which makes it vulnerable to serious issues of privacy breach and data theft.
The Big Data industry needs to work on how it is going to protect the data and be transparent to the public regarding how the data will be used. The Indian government’s Aadhaar is one of the largest stakeholders in this space with a collection of data that goes well over 1.3 billion, it is not just dates of birth or addresses but extends to iris scans and fingerprints; at the moment the government doesn’t seem to have any strong strategy to protect the data. Big Data also faces challenges that, if not dealt with properly, could cause damage to data, data alteration and leakage.
One way to tackle this is to establish an information security policy, but that in itself seems to be a challenge as it involves strategical and legal aspects. However, this is the only way there can be effective managing of the data. Users should also be aware of their rights and individual privacy. And only then can they emerge a big player in international internet governance.
India is on the path to becoming a major global trading power and investment in this transformative technology has to be continuous for long-term success. And as far as the workforce is concerned, they will have to re-skill themselves as many current skills would most likely become irrelevant in the near future.