Research in AI increased 18 times but are there enough jobs? ISB releases Artificial Intelligence Index 2021

While jobs are not abundant in this emerging sector, there is a need to make everyone acquainted with AI and accept it as a cultural change and not just a tech upgrade
Image for representational purpose only (Pic: PTI)
Image for representational purpose only (Pic: PTI)

The number of research papers written on Artificial Intelligence has increased almost 18 times in the past two decades at a 15 per cent Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) but only two per cent of the jobs posted online are related to AI even in 2019-20, said The Artificial Intelligence Index 2021 by the Indian School of Business' Srini Raju Centre for IT and the Networked Economy (ISB-SRITNE). While Indian students are on par with the global competition when it comes to Mathematics and developing in Machine Learning, they are still lagging in Data Management, Data Visualisation, Statistical Programming and Statistics.

While jobs are not abundant in this emerging sector, there is a need to make everyone acquainted with AI and accept it as a cultural change and not just a tech upgrade, said Dr Rohini Srivathsa, National Technology Officer, Microsoft India. Unveiling the index which talks about research, education, employment, startups and public perception about AI in India, Dr Srivathsa said, "It's (AI) not that straightforward that everyone can adopt it. The issues have very little to do with tech but to do with initiative, skill and culture. If you think of AI as just tech you are missing the point. Empowering people is very important. AI is a cultural mindset. Every employee needs to be included. It's not about what computers can do but what they should do."

Not only are there lesser jobs, they are concentrated in the major cities, which is not very surprising but tells us which direction to move towards, "There is an indication of regionally skewed progress and development with the increasing demand for AI-related jobs in the metro cities. The patent filings are also limited to metro cities, as observed in the previous module. Wider distribution of interest and knowledge in the AI domain is necessary to achieve a complete integration and digital transformation across India," said the study.

Jayesh Ranjan, the Principal Secretary of the Industries & Commerce (I&C) and Information Technology (IT) Departments of the Telangana government and the JNTUH Vice-Chancellor said that the Telangana government has been using AI quite skillfully in its daily work. "The year 2020 was the year of AI. Of the 80 odd activities, we had planned we had to put aside only 19 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. We had to even add some because of the pandemic," he said and added, "The Telangana government has a citizen's portal (Integrated People Information Hub (IPIH))which integrates all department and streamlines every facility one needs from electricity to water supply to tax payments and more by using AI and ML. We use only your name and address and not Aadhaar to put you in the databases of these departments. The port started with an accuracy of 70 per cent which has now gone up to 95 per cent," he added.

He agreed with Dr Srivathsa and said that skilling in this sector is of utmost importance and the primary responsibility falls on the government. "AI courses for skilling people to bridge the gap. In JNTUH, irrespective of what you study, you must do a compulsory course on AI," he added

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