Sukanya Mandal, Data Science Professional and IEEE Member

Q1: How do you see Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) shaping the Indian Manufacturing Industry?

With the Make in India initiative, India has been largely benefitted and is on the way to become a global hub of manufacturing, giving a boost to Indian economy. India ranks 10thamong the world largest manufacturing countries and has quickly climbed up the ladder to3 positions ranking in sixth position in 2015.

India’s manufacturing sector has the potential to touch USD 1 trillion by 2025 and can account for 20-30 percent of the country’s GDP with the potential to create 90 million domestic jobs by 2025.

With the right implementation of A.I. technologies in both private and public sector and enforcing automation in certain sector while implementing proper skill up program for the existing work force would bring out huge potential.

Implementing A.I. in the manufacturing sector would employ more reliable demand forecasting, a flexible and responsive supply chain, quicker changes in operations, and more accurate scheduling an inventory optimization.

Q2: How is A.I. helping impacting human efficiency in the corporate sector?

On one hand, A.I. with its intelligence and automated nature is helping to increase human efficiency because much of the task that requires basic intelligence, human labor and time can be done by an intelligent machine in no time thus reducing time.

On the other hand, low-skilled, repeatable labor can be assigned to robotic systems provides an incentive for part of the workforce to be trained in higher level skills such as designing, monitoring and oversight, and adjusting machine algorithms to enable AI systems to operate in a reliable and transparent manner. This would mean a shift in the nature of employment that India is likely to experience.

Q3: Where does India stand in technology in terms of: 

a) A.I. development, innovations, R&D – still in the nascent stage. Needs to deploy some policies and proper funding strategy to boost A.I. development, innovations, R&D.

b) Robotics for Industrial Automation
–India has been on the foreground for quiet some time, but needs to implement latest technologies to the existing ones to increase India’s potential.

c) A.I.& Robotics in Defense, Health and Governance–At its initial stage, a lot of work is going on. In defence, robotics has been deployed earlier, but A.I. needs some more work.

d) AI-Human interactive technologies –At its initial stages, a few startup is working on it but still a lot of research and development needs to be done to implement and achieve a commercial success.

Q4: Do we have the appropriate environment (Infrastructure, policies, technology, personnel etc.) for testing 5G and IoT technology in India?

Currently, India is experiencing 4G solutions. The appropriate environment to experience 5G and IoT will be available almost close to this decade (2020) and that is when India will experience a full version of connected life.

Q5: In the Artificial Intelligence space, which companies are to watch out for and why?

There are quite a few of them as AI is in its nascent stage and startups are exploring the gaps and bringing in innovative solutions to benefit the society.

Netradyne is a startup in the computer vision space which delivers a powerful camera to analyze driving pattern to find the cause of an accident. In the educational space Embibe is another promising startup helping students maximize scores with AI capabilities. Mad Street Den is one of the several startups which leverages A.I. to improve the retail experience in India. SigTuple another startup, providing data driven intelligence for healthcare leveraging AI to generate medical reports within minutes. There are quite a lot of startup in India (to name just a few), currently leveraging A.I. and more yet to come.

Q6: How far is India from witnessing Smart cities or living in an IoT enabled environment?

The first round of Smart City Mission India has already been announced with 20 cities on the list to receive the first round of funding. Although there were speculations and concerns over its implementation as the mission witnessed a lackluster attitude from the city corporation(s) over forming a special purpose vehicle (SPV), but those were things of the past. Currently, the mission has been taken seriously and work is on full swing with projects of worth Rs. 5.7k cr under implementation. In a couple of years India will experience Smart Cities and the benefits of living a connected life.

Q7: What are the trending areas for research and advancements in the IIoT arena worldwide?

Emphasis on data driven manufacturing, advancements in software that can make critical decision from data, Intelligent industrial robots, adopting responsible and environmentally conscious manufacturing practices and most importantly security of connected manufacturing.

Q8: How do you think recent advances in Artificial Intelligence will impact the Indian Electronics Industry? Please share both, pros and cons.

The global AI chooser market is expected to be worth USD 16.06 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 62.9℅ between 2016 and 2022. The electronic industry will benefit from the government of India ‘Make in India’ initiative and is expected to reach USD 112-130 billion by 2018. Of the 54 investment proposal received by the govt. of India, the center has approved 30 investment entailing Rs. 6000 crore (USD 889.44 million), while 24 are in advanced stage. Following this continuous growth momentum, the Indian semiconductor design market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 29.4℅ to reach USD 52.6 billion in 2020.

Benefits –

  • Increase in design strength of engineering thereby increasing competitive edge.
  • Greater investment would lead to geographical expansions.
  • Increased focus on defence projects – the opportunity of Indian defence manufacturing sector to be worth USD 245 billion over the next 10 years.
  • Expansion of electronic and hardware industry will benefit the smart devices ecosystem in India.
  • Increased competition in the semiconductor industry will drive the merger and acquisition deals significantly – and Internet of Things is another driving force.

Risks-

  • This would bring pressure to the billing rates of the semiconductor industry as many MNC’s are looking at lowering their R&D budgets and have expanded their operations within India and other countries with cheaper labour force.
  • Future success depends upon the continued services of key personnel, many of whom would be difficult to replace

Q9: What policy reforms do you think are still needed to boost the Indian A.I. sector

In India, A.I. applications are still at a nascent stage. There has been private efforts from the startup sector to benefit the society with A.I. potential but the public sector still needs to contribute to the effort enthusiastically to realize the full potential of A.I. to ensure the l country’s growth.

Along with Skill India and Digital India initiatives, India needs to follow a proper educational approach to educate the common masses and students about the presence of A.I. based technologies. Some kind of academic programs needs to be considered to enable people understand the benefits and detriments of such technologies in their lives.

Public – private funding policies also needs to be considered.

A proper infrastructure policy to deploy A.I. solution would help and boost the small scale startup to with little finding to provide innovative solutions.

Policy to proliferate the rapid growing A.I. technology to benefit various diversified sectors of the Indian economy otherwise the proper potential of A.I. in such sectors would not be realized. This might hinder growth in such sectors.

Proper R&D initiatives and long term research funding policies needs to be taken into consideration to ensure A.I. innovation in India. This would require patience because there are possibilities that sometimes the research might not yield any result.

As there will be a shift in job roles, some considerations needs to be adapted to create new ones and also to train the existing work force.

India should take into account that A.I. is a critical element and has can have severe effect on the national security.

Deploying A.I. ethically is another concern which would require to set up the right policies.

Taking such policy measures will help Indian industries leverage strong A.I. solutions so that the country benefits maximally from the A.I. revolution.

Q10: Please feel free to share you insights, opinions, suggestions, comments, your take and observations.

India has great potential in terms of talent and skills. A few government initiative has increased hope. With A.I. in hand,India has the resource to reach heights. All these available resources, with the correct opportunities and strategies will do wonders for India.

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