Positive Vibes for AI in India

In 2022, for the first time, researchers from India contributed to the development of large language and multimodal models.
India Catapults the AI Mission
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Stanford University recently released its annual Artificial intelligence Index report. The report aims to present information regarding AI, enabling leaders to make significant strides in promoting AI in a responsible and ethical manner. It further revealed that following respondents from China, those from Saudi Arabia (76%) and India (71%) felt the most positive about AI products. 

One of the key takeaways from the report was that a large proportion of GitHub AI projects were contributed by software developers in India—to be precise, 24.2%.

This aligns with what the Microsoft Chief said in January during the company’s Future Ready Leadership Summit. Satya Nadella said that apart from being the second-largest economy for startups, India also happens to be the second-largest contributor to the developer ecosystem.

“On GitHub, which is sort of a place to see what’s happening with developers worldwide, India is now the second-biggest contributor of the developer ecosystem,” he said.

The annual AI Index featured India in 2023, further recognising the increasingly important role that the nation plays in the AI ecosystem currently.

More Adopters, Less Innovators 

Even though it claims to have achieved great heights in technology adoption, India lags far behind when it comes to innovation. According to the U.S. Chamber International IP Index, India was ranked 40 amongst 53 nations on the Global Intellectual Property Index. ​​‘Patents’ act as markers of the constant innovation taking place in a nation.

It is notable that India spends only 0.7% of its GDP on R&D while the US spends 2.8%, China invests 2.1%, Israel channels 4.3% and Korea spends 4.2% of its GDP in R&D. These numbers are a good indicator of why India lacks innovation when compared to others.

The Stanford report further mentioned that researchers from Canada, Germany, and India contributed to the development of large language and multimodal models for the first time in 2022. A change in the trend is evident and we are likely to see more AI companies working on LLMs and generative AI.  

Plenty Talent, Marginal Contribution 

Satya Nadella, during his visit to India, was also asked about the innovation happening in India to which he suggested that it has the ‘human capital and it is already doing innovative things’. 

He said, “In terms of AI reports or AI projects, India is number one, and that’s pretty huge. If the next big age is going to be AI, the human capital is already here and doing innovative things and they’re not doing it in isolation. They’re doing it in the context of making a financial services product, doing better risk assessment, better insurance, or energy transition and that’s fantastic to see.”

The report also suggested that the share of Indian AI journal publications has been steadily increasing—from 1.3% in 2010 to 5.6% in 2021. However, China has remained the leader throughout with 39.8% in 2021 while East Asia and Pacific contribute more than 50% of journal publications, region wise.

Apart from this, India, US and Germany were also the three countries or regions with the highest AI skill penetration rates.

The AI skill penetration rate is a metric created by LinkedIn to determine the prevalence of various AI-related skills across employment. LinkedIn reweighs the frequencies of self-added skills by LinkedIn users in a certain field from 2015 to 2022 using a statistical model in order to create the top 50 representative abilities for that particular occupation.

The nation has also seen an overhaul when it comes to AI curricula, as the government has implemented it across Indian middle and high schools curriculum. In gist, there are inevitable challenges but India’s contribution to the AI community is being recognised; if we don’t become complacent, India can be one of the top voices in the field.

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Shyam Nandan Upadhyay
Shyam is a tech journalist with expertise in policy and politics, and exhibits a fervent interest in scrutinising the convergence of AI and analytics in society. In his leisure time, he indulges in anime binges and mountain hikes.

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