Artificial intelligence could add $957 billion to the Indian economy and will lift the country’s income by 15% in 2035, a new research report from Accenture showed.
AI has the potential to increase India’s annual growth rate of gross value added (GVA) by 1.3 percentage points, the report, called ‘Rewire for Growth’, estimated.
The report explored the strength of India’s AI innovation ecosystem relative to other G20 economies in universities, startups, large businesses, policymakers and multi-stakeholder partnerships.
“The economic boost will be driven by innovative AI technologies that enable people to make more efficient use of their time and do what humans do best – create, imagine and innovate new things. What’s needed is a clear, long-term vision, and a multi-stakeholder action plan that balances growth with the ethical questions posed by AI,” Rekha M Menon, senior managing director and chairman, Accenture India, said.
AI startups have witnessed higher than average growth in India since 2011, the report said. In 2016, India ranked third among G20 countries measured by the number of AI startups although it received substantially less funding than the United States and China.
It also found that major Indian technical universities have been pioneering fundamental research in AI but are not doing enough to strengthen the AI ecosystem around them, unlike their global counterparts such as the universities of Cambridge and Oxford in the UK.
In order to realise the full potential of AI in the country, the report suggests that India needs to concentrate efforts on developing a collaborative AI ecosystem at the national level. Policy makers, civil society and the private sector must come together to develop long-term vision and an action plan to increase spending on core AI research, facilitate collaboration for innovation, and create opportunities for smaller players.
AI will get a boost if data is made easily available and by developing skills in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics). Stakeholders must set guiding principles on ‘responsible AI’ and develop regulation to adapt the short innovation cycles of AI, the report suggested.
The report predicts that large businesses will play a key role in unlocking the economic value of AI. More than 88% of businesses in India surveyed by Accenture earlier this year expect to make moderate-to-extensive investments in one or more AI-related technologies over the next three years.
In addition, digital platform companies can play a key role in driving AI innovations in India, in line with global trends. Also, small and large companies alike will need an enabling environment and policy framework to advance AI-led growth.