Private sector AI players must play greater role in India’s growth story: Indian-American expert

WASHINGTON, Feb 22: Asserting that artificial intelligence is a promising area for India’s future, a renowned Indian-American expert has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to not only rope in but also encourage and motivate the private sector to build applications for healthcare, education and banking sectors for the benefit of India’s rural population.
AI is a branch of computer science that replicates the human mind’s problem-solving and decision-making capabilities.
“AI applications is a promising area for India. The Prime Minister should urge the industry to build these applications for healthcare, education and banking (first priority) and target our rural population,” Prof Arogyaswami Paulraj, an Emeritus Professor at the prestigious Stanford University told PTI in a recent interview.
After 25 years of service with the Government of India, Prof Paulraj joined Stanford University in 1993 and retired from service in 2013. His most well-known contribution was the invention and advancement of Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) wireless technology that revolutionised mobile and Wi-Fi wireless networks, greatly enhancing network economics and user experience.
“AI applications are now easy to do (make). I think we need to push on it strongly. It can be done through the private sector. The government is very, very slow to move. The government cannot do these things,” the 2010 Padma Bhushan awardee said, adding that Prime Minister Modi with his stature and personality could rope in the private sector in this endeavour.
The prime minister, he noted, should host a meeting of the private sector and companies to find ways in which they can bring AI in various sectors.
Responding to a question, Paulraj said a lot of AI is already being used in social media. Education, health, finance and banking are three areas where AI can play a significant role in the development and progress of India, he said.
Development of AI in all the three sectors, he argued, would help the poorest of the poor and the common man.
“We can bring AI technologies by which we can improve education at the primary and secondary level, in rural and semi-rural areas and small towns,” he said.
Same is the case with development of AI tools in the healthcare sector, he said.
Today AI has become very powerful in the health sector, he said, pointing out that MRI and CAT Scan machines depend as much on AI as on human deductions.
Prof Paulraj’s recognitions include the 2014 Marconi Prize (the highest global award for advancing applied telecommunications technology), the 2011 IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal and the 2018 Induction to the US Patent and Trademark Office’s National Inventors Hall of Fame (Note 1). (PTI)