Today evening was well spent listening to two eminent men talk – Dr Raj Reddy (Carnegie Mellon University) and Mr N R Narayana Murthy – on the topic of “AI for India – A vision for a developed nation” organized by Dr APJ Abdul Kalam International Foundation, House of Kalam. The Youtube recording is here.
Professor Dr Raj Reddy, Professor of Computer Science and Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University delivered a guest lecture on the topic of “AI in Service of PURA” explaining the relevance and importance of Dr Kalam’s vision of Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas.
I had the honour of participating in the interaction session with Mr N R Narayana Murthy, Padma Vibhushan awardee and Founder of Infosys, and to ask him a question. The question was: For Dr Kalam, technology was never about the present, but its potential in the future. About ten years ago he said “I visualize a world where office work from morning to evening will be done in a 100% paperless and 100% transport less mode over video calls. In such a world, transport to office will be history and people will work from the comfort of their family and home”. Now we are living through this reality, how do you see future of work in the next 20 years?
For this Mr NRN, replied he sees science to invent new ways to improve our lives and technologies implementing them. Three technologies he expects to have a large impact in the future are IoT, AI/Cloud & 5G.
For other question posed to him, Mr NRN shared that he sees the need for Indian Farmers to be consulted and helped, we have been using the same fertilizers for last fifty years and the need to change/reduce them to sustainable ones; Indian universities collaborating more with the world leading universities and to attract world’s best professors and researchers to India; India needing to reduce its population; Reduce the inequality in the society by enabling everyone to grow.
Prof Raj Reddy shared for a question on the threat of AI on jobs in India that he does see a short-term disruption in the jobs especially for people who are 50 or 60 and unable to relearn/retool and Government’s should plan and prepare to handle it by providing benefits like Universal Basic Income (UBI) schemes.
For a question on “Views for skill development for non-IT students in India“, Mr NRN says:
- Technology skills can be easily picked up. We need to focus on Cultural transformation and learning of soft skills. Cultural: Indians first are very poor in discipline, don’t come to meetings on time or follow rules of the road;
- The levels of dishonesty in India are much more than many other countries;
- Apathy, we see a lot of corruption, littering and we don’t do anything about;
- We take care of our family and private property, but we don’t do anything for public properties and roads;
- We have to learn to speak and write English better and better, whether we like it or not, it is the language of the world, it has the maximum number of books and knowledge than any Indian languages including Hindi; [Venkatarangan: Here I see things differently, with the technology in language processing evolving exponentially this situation is changing rapidly]
- We have to learn the cultural nuances of other cultures, we became intimate before becoming friendly, we ask for favours even if we don’t know them well;
- We are poor in teamwork and work in silos.
For a question on “How to empower our students to handle Industrial Revolution 4.0” Mr NRN says: Indians need to change from being problem solvers for a problem stated by customers, they need to move from being reactive to be proactive. Youngsters have to become the best communicators in English if they want to absorb the knowledge generated around the world under the current circumstances. If we continue the policy of supressing English, we will suffer.