MANGALURU: Global technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) would help create new opportunities in India for delivering services, needs and priorities in sectors like education, health, management and others through smart thinking, a top government official said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi today.

“The rise of AI and industry 4.0 has a different meaning in a country where there is a deficit of young people and it has a different meaning in a country like India which has a demographic dividend, where the average age of nation is 29+ years and large number of people are educated, intelligent, energetic and young looking to create new opportunities,” said Ashutosh Sharma, secretary to department of science and technology (DST) inaugurating ASSOCHAM’s third international conference on Artificial Intelligence for India’s Transformation.

AI may actually not destroy jobs but basically replace people who are not there. “So, it does not destroy jobs because we are creating new opportunities by bringing in machines which do people’s jobs,” he said.

“In India, we need to create new opportunities using the same technology, clearly skills are very important, but basically you need to identify the unmet needs, unreached people who are not served by technology,” said Sharma.

Department of Science and Technology is starting a mission called Cyber Physical Systems. “It is a marriage between information, decision making and AI,” he said.

The mission is worth about Rs 3,660 crore for the next three years. It would set up hubs in every conceivable area of artificial intelligence. “This would be a very historical mission in which industry, corporations would be looking at AI as equal partners, I want industry to be totally on-board to provide direction, early vision, problems and work together in also leveraging resources that would be created by government,” he noted.

Another parallel mission is starting out in quantum communication and computing. There is another national mission going on which is related to supercomputing whereby DST and MeitY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) are working as partners and setting up a large number of super computers in the country, he said.

“These missions bring different components of society, that is, government, industry, academia, R&D labs on board in a very compelling way. The missions include the entire end-to-end value chain from knowledge generation to knowledge consumption. While it has basic R&D, it also has technology development, skills, human resource development, incubators, support for start-ups, international collaborations,” he said.

“This would be a great platform for all of us to work together,” he said addressing the industry leaders.