Artificial Intelligence in India: Robust and here to stay

According to Data Pulse: Maximising the Potential of AI, our survey of IT professionals across Asia Pacific, 90% of organisations in India have already implemented AI, and almost all respondents (99%) are planning to implement more AI solutions in the next 12 months.

August 18, 2018 6:18 IST | India Infoline News Service
BS Teh
There is no denying the fact that the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is on the surge. In India, AI adoption is already so robust that its applications have been realized in several areas including information technology, supply chain, and logistics, as well as research and development (R&D). According to Data Pulse: Maximising the Potential of AI, our survey of IT professionals across the Asia Pacific, 90% of organizations in India have already implemented AI, and almost all respondents (99%) are planning to implement more AI solutions in the next 12 months.
Globally, India is ranked third after the USA and China in terms of AI implementation. With AI possessing the potential to add US$957bn, or 15% of India’s current gross value to the Indian economy by 2035, the combination of the technology, data, and talent that make intelligent systems possible has reached critical mass, driving extraordinary growth in AI investment.
Data is the most fundamental building block that drives AI technology, enabling the likes of Siri, Cortana, and Alexa to exist. While AI seems to have no issues merging seamlessly into consumer lifestyles, the road for businesses seems slightly bumpier in comparison. According to our survey, 75% of businesses in India indicated they struggle to know where and how to start with AI and that despite strengthening their IT infrastructure, they still feel a need to make further investments to handle growing data streams.
Accelerating towards an AI Future
People and businesses are unanimous in their opinion that AI will impact our daily lives, and that there are productivity gains to be enjoyed through the adoption of this technology. Overall, we can expect to see a spike in the frequency, flexibility, and immediacy of data analysis across industries and applications to drive business decisions. One example is Ola, one of the country’s leading ride-hailing apps, which is using data science and AI to offer vehicle diagnostics, advanced navigation guidance and predictive maintenance of vehicles to drivers. This is helping the company better understand driver habits and ultimately, improve the customer experience.
This also highlights the key role of Edge computing. Since the creation of the first hard disk drive, we’ve seen IT infrastructures evolve from individual mainframes to decentralized servers, and now, mobile and cloud computing. Today, we are also increasingly seeing compute that takes place at the Edge to cater to the expanding need for the real-time responsiveness that AI, predictive analytics, and machine learning technologies demand.
The Asia Pacific is at the center of this digital transformation. According to IDC’s Data Age 2025 report, sponsored by Seagate, global data growth is expected to rise exponentially to 163 zettabytes by 2025, and with its vibrantly growing economies, emerging pools of talent, and highly connected population, APAC is potentially a key region to drive this growth. We see evidence of this in government initiatives such as Singapore’s Smart Nation vision, as well as India’s National Institution for Transforming India (Niti Aayog) that will initiate the country’s first-ever national policy on AI – all of which point toward the region’s appetite to embrace AI and the opportunities it brings. 
Putting data infrastructure to work for an AI-driven future
For organizations looking to reap the benefits of data analytics and real-time data processing, proactive steps must be taken to build a robust infrastructure to support and reshape the data that they collect.
The reality of implementing AI within an organization is not a simple task. One-third of the respondents we surveyed believe that their organizations have yet to invest sufficient man hours and budgets when it comes to AI development and implementation. In India, the biggest challenge is in collecting, validating and distributing AI-relevant data as well as making it accessible to organizations, people, and systems without compromising privacy and ethics. Data is the bedrock of AI systems, the reliability of which depends primarily on the quality and quantity of the data.
However, budgets and resources are just part of the puzzle - oftentimes there are multiple factors at play such as whether there is a clear strategy and direction within the business backed by the commitment from senior leadership and the right talent to drive overall AI adoption within an organization. To that end, the government is paving the way for India to become a global leader in AI, with Niti Aayog’s initiatives as well as a doubling of resources in the ‘Digital India’ programme to $480 million Efforts have been directed towards the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, quantum computing, machine learning and blockchain initiatives. These have become national objectives to bolster economic growth.
Of equal importance is ensuring that the right ‘tech’ is in place to support any sort of AI development. Our interactions with data are expected to increase 20-fold to once every 18 seconds by 2025v, putting greater demands on businesses that collect consumer data. The expectation for organizations to keep data accessible while being safe and secure will be of paramount importance. Our Data Pulse survey also showed almost all respondents agreed that they must invest in IT infrastructure to handle the growing volumes of data, with 98% admitting that their current infrastructures aren’t designed to deal with burgeoning data growth.
It is an exciting time for all of us as both consumers and businesses – we are all on our respective journeys towards embracing the benefits and value that AI can bring. Data is the pulse behind AI functionality and we need to constantly evaluate how to best store, access and analyze data to glean insights that can help drive impactful decision-making. With a solid foundation at the core, backed by robust organizational policies, there are tremendous opportunities to be leveraged with the adoption of AI.
The author is B.S. Teh, Senior VP - Global Sales & Sales Operations, Seagate

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