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How AI can fuel the Indian digital economy

How AI can fuel the Indian digital economy
Charlie Lee

With China, the US and South Korea making tremendous advances in artificial intelligence research, it was time India had a strong policy in place to benefit from the AI revolution. With the global economy now transforming into a digital economy, it is good to see the Indian government reflecting deeply on developing cutting-edge technologies in the digital space.

Technology formed one of the chief focuses in the Union Budget 2018 with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley giving primacy to the “technologies of the future” like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT) and 3D printing.

These technologies will play a big role in driving cost efficiencies and, in turn, increase revenue for BFSI and fin-tech players.

Let’s take a look at why India needs a strategic AI vision and how it can leverage the potential of AI in different sectors:

Telecom

In the telecom sector, AI will play a big role in the smooth integration of technologies like virtualisation and SDN-NFV and will also assist in automating networks. It will unleash a wide range of opportunities for telecom operators in subscriber profiling, content usage trends and network activity. Using AI and data analytics will also help them to identify and accurately pinpoint when to push various services to customers at the right time. For example, in case of pre-paid customers, operators with help of AI can notify subscribers when they are running low on data.

In a big boost to the economically stagnant telecom industry, the government has showcased support for the industry by allocating Rs 10,000 crore for the creation and augmentation of the country’s telecom infrastructure. India’s Department of Telecom will also help set up an ‘indigenous 5G Test Bed’ at the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai. Startups will be able to build services on a high-speed network instead of focusing on low-end spectrum. In this era, companies will more and more depend upon data and machine learning to analyse patterns and networks and expand their businesses.

Fin-tech

We are entering a golden age for AI and with that arenas like fin-tech are also witnessing the impact of the digital revolution on multiple levels. Various solutions such as chatbots, machine learning, blockchain, and mobile apps enable fin-tech firm to facilitate easier and faster transactions.

In the fin-tech sector, AI is being used either as a facilitating technology, as part of a regulatory system, or for bitcoin management in the case of blockchain technology. AI will help the fin-tech industry address prevailing problems like easy monitoring of data entry tasks and reducing the risk of fraudulent activities.

Job market

Most predictions about the job market involve emerging technologies such as AI, automation and machine learning. People with strong backgrounds in big data and analytics will continue to be the most sought after by companies across sectors, say sources in the recruitment industry.

However, contrary to the belief that AI will lead to layoffs, industry experts now state that AI will actually revolutionise sectors and will create a greater level of efficiency by simplifying tasks. This will lead to improved systems and will further propel the ability of the current and future workforce to do so much more.

According to industry reports, the Indian IT industry is expected to add around 1.80 lakh to 2 lakh new jobs in 2018. With a strong focus on Digital India, the industry requires 50% more workforce. AI alone will create 2.3 million jobs globally by 2020. According to reports, one in five companies will use AI to make decisions in 2018. This will help companies offer customised solutions and instructions to employees in real-time.

Charlie Lee is the founder and chief executive of South Korea-based Balance Hero which promotes True Balance, a mobile application where users can check their call and data balances and can make prepaid recharges.

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