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India ranks 15th among top 25 AI nations with greatest upward potential

India may be 15th among the top 25 Artificial Intelligence nations, but it has the ‘the greatest upward potential’ according to research by Tufts University’s business school, the Fletcher School.

At the top is the US, followed by China, fighting for global leadership in AI followed by the UK, Japan, and Germany. In the 15th spot, India is ahead of Brazil, Argentina, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia and Thailand.

The researchers wanted to compare the state of AI across countries based on four drivers: The rapidly accumulating pools of data through broadband consumption; the rules of how data can be accessed, which include data governance policies and cross-border data flow; capital, which includes talent, investments, diversity of AI talent and evolution of the digital foundation; and finally, an innovation which includes patent applications, citations, publications, etc.

Bhaskar Chakrovorti, dean of global business at the Fletcher School, led the research and concluded that India’s potential could be enormous if appropriately steered.

“It has the second fastest growing pool of data of the countries we studied (after Indonesia). It already has the world’s largest pool of mobile data. All of these can help accelerate its position as a ‘data-rich’ country — critical for advancing AI — as long as the data is made accessible in responsible ways,” said Chakrovorti after interpreting the findings.

This does not mean there are no challenges. Chakravorti acknowledges that India’s data accessibility is low, particularly for cross-border movement of data. While India’s AI/Machine Learning talent base (the world’s third largest) is a major source of AI power, it needs to invest in data science, ML, and technical education to build on this strength.

In short, the vast numbers available in the talent pool are under-tapped owing to the educational system failing to keep pace.

Chakrovorti also believes that capital coming into India bodes well for AI startups but only if regulation is in place.

“The government needs to have AI safety regulations in place that build guardrails, prevent the use of AI for surveillance, enhance privacy and security, and continue to promote innovation. This is a tall order as these regulations take a long time to take shape in India,” he said.

He pointed out that while India restricts access to data, its AI regulation rules are still fluid. In July, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued a new consultation paper that called for a statutory authority to regulate AI under a ‘risk-based framework’.

TRAI also suggested collaborating with governments and international agencies to advance the responsible use of AI globally, a process that Chakrovorti believes India could shape quite significantly.

“As I said, India had tremendous potential to move up in the rankings but wise actions by regulators and improved education can help accelerate that process,” said Chakrovorti.

The researchers arrived at their ranking based on over 20 different institutional sources, including public databases such as the International Telecommunication Union and the World Bank, and proprietary data partnerships with SeekOut and Geoge Washington University’s Data Governance Hub.

They also used their databases and models through which they mapped the emerging geography of AI leadership.

The study says that generative AI alone will affect 300 million jobs and create as much as $4.4 trillion annually. Business Standard

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