AI will take away repetitive jobs, but create new ones too

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The deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) across sectors in India will replace a large number of repetitive jobs with new jobs that require more human intelligence. 

Speaking during the CEO panel discussion at the Mint AI Summit, chief executives and industry stalwarts agreed the industry will need to upskill workers as automation and AI come to the fore.

The panel comprised Ajai Chowdhry, founding member of HCL Technologies Ltd; Nitin Chugh, deputy managing director and head of digital banking at State Bank of India; Geetha Manjunath, founder and chief executive of Niramai Health Analytix; and Dilipkumar Khandelwal, managing director and chief executive officer of Deutsche Bank India. 

The panel was moderated by Sruthijith K.K., editor-in-chief of Mint.

“It (the loss of jobs to automation) is going to happen, yes. But more jobs will come around. Someone has to work behind the AI as well. To become a superpower, we need to create the people to run the AI,” said Chowdhry. 

Khandelwal concurred, adding that the topics that humans run or do “will require a kind of upskilling”, and “humans will be progressed and taken forward”, which is the bigger challenge today.

According to Manjunath, AI can bridge the gap between healthcare in urban and rural infrastructures.

 “In the urban ecosystem, patients flock to expert doctors. Gaps in rural infrastructure were exposed through covid-19. AI as a helping tool can save doctors’ time through mundane analysis, leaving only the final decision to the human and improves productivity. In rural areas, AI can help make health workers smarter,” she said.

A similar impact is also expected in the financial sector, according to Chugh. “Eventually, there will be a digital divide. Some people will have access based on digital literacy, but others will have phones but not know what to do. This is where voice solutions would help bridge the divide. Users will need AI on the edge, and banks today are creating voice solutions for those who are not literate,” Chugh said.

AI, according to the panelists, could also have an impact on various other aspects of the society. 

Chowdhry said that the education system will need to adopt AI and India will need the right quality and number of people in order to become a superpower the AI industry. 

“It’s about having the right quality and number of people – which is a shortage area today. Thus, what we need to do is include AI in every education curriculum we can think of – be it about creating algorithms or using them. We need all parts of our education system to adopt AI,” he said.

Khandelwal noted that while there has been a boom in made-in-India software products over the past five to six years, the US remains the largest market for it. 

“If India has to keep this talent, you need to have investments and markets making it easy for people to sell. The market could be created only when apart from education, an awareness is created too,” he said.

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