Published: 21st July 2017
Data is the new oil and should be democratised to be available for everybody, says Nandan Nilekani
The Aadhaar mastermind was speaking at 54th Convocation of IIT Madras, where 1588 students were awarded degrees for the academic excellence
A graduation ceremony is a university recognising its students for their wealth of knowledge and learning but at the IIT Madras convocation, the students were told that they had not learnt enough. “Learning to keep learning is the biggest lesson IIT can impart to you,” said Nandan Nilekani, the Chief Guest at the ceremony.
Nilekani, himself a graduate from IIT Bombay, said that he wished he'd rather be a graduate sitting in the audience than be on stage, “I wish I was in your place because the pace of change in the world today is the fastest it has ever been. So many opportunities for innovation are arising constantly and it is easier now than ever for companies to enter new fields.” he said.
Pointing out that almost everything these days is becoming digital and new systems and platforms are being created, Nilekani said that in the last 10 years there has been a high rate of automation. “Now since new technologies are being invented, it is most essential for an employee to keep learning. You can just get a degree and say you know the subject, with constant change comes constant learning. You have to continuously keep re-learning,” he explained.
Graduation win: 2263 degrees were awarded to the students of IIT-M
Nilekani also said that with the fast pace of innovation it has become impossible to predict the future of tech or even businesses, so it's best to stay as updated as possible.
“Since Artificial Intelligence and other technologies, jobs that exist now will not exist in a few years. But you must remember you can take away jobs that can be done through automation but you can't take away the jobs where humans do better. Which is why quick learning and continuous learning is so essential,” the Infosys co-founder said.
He said that in the last eight years India has had enormous digital exposure and had developed a sophisticated software environment. “Today, data is the new oil. Before oil used to be the basis of how the world worked but now data is the oil of the 21st century. But data should be democratised. It should not be something that only some pockets profit from,” he explained.
Since Artificial Intelligence and other technologies, jobs that exist now will not exist in a few years
Nandan Nilekani, Co-founder, Infosys
He even spoke about his brainchild, the Aadhaar card and how it had changed the entire method in which our country works. “As on June 30, four crore authentication processed had taken place in one day, two billion transactions. Aadhaar allows you to access your own data too,” he said.
As a final word of advice, Nilekani said that no matter what they do, the graduates should always aim to be on top of their game.
A total of 2263 degrees were awarded to the students this year and 1588 students were collecting it in person at the ceremony. Out if these 284 were women and 1304 were men, this also included 21 differently able students getting their degrees.