Governor of Maharastra, C.Vidhya Sagar Rao, Chief Minister of Maharastra, Devendra Fadnavis, Minister in the Maharastra Govt.Shri Vinod Tawde,

Vice-Chancellor of Mumbai University, Shri Devenand Shinde,

Romesh Wadhwani ji, Sunil Wadhwani ji,

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am happy to be here today at the inauguration of the Wadhwani Institute of Artificial Intelligence.

Let me begin by congratulating Romesh Wadhwani Ji and Sunil Wadhwani Ji, The Government of Maharashtra, and Mumbai University for coming together to make this Institute a reality. This is a prime example of how the public sector and the private sector can combine with good intentions to build a world-class institute aimed at benefiting the poor.

I have had various interactions with the Indian diaspora across the globe during the last three and a half years or so. I have felt an intense desire, to contribute to India. Through this Institute, Romesh Ji and Sunil Ji have blended this desire with a futuristic vision of a prosperous and vibrant India. In doing so, they have set an example that is worthy of emulation.

Friends, today India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. We are using technology in an un-paralleled way from agriculture to aeronautics and from space missions to service delivery. We are also witnessing a wave of entrepreneurship ranging from small enterprises to big-ticket investments. These are just a few indicators to show, how well-placed we are to fare in the upcoming fourth industrial revolution.

Friends, with the arrival of Artificial Intelligence, Bots and Robots there is no doubt that our productivity will further go up. But, there are also rising fears of human redundancy because there is a competition between the mind and the machine. Such fears are neither un-founded nor new.

At every stage of technological evolution, we have faced such doubts and questions. This leads to two views of the future. First brings hopes and aspirations and second brings fears of disruption  

Technology opens entirely new spheres and sectors for growth. It also opens up an entirely new paradigm of opportunities. With each wave of new technology, many new opportunities arise. New opportunities have always outnumbered the lost ones. Human ingenuity has always prevailed and it will continue to do so in the future. This optimism stems from my firm faith in Ancient Indian Thinking that blended science and spirituality and found Harmony between the two/ for the greater good of mankind.

I am reminded of the ज्ञान सूक्त from the यजुर वेद तैत्त्रेय आरान्यका: “सत्ये सर्वम प्रतिष्ठितम ”. The spirit of scientific inquiry was rooted in the pursuit of Truth.

Our ancient texts go on to further list the mental faculties that assist in this pursuit of the Truth. श्रद्धा (dedication),मेधा (mental capacity), मनीषा (intelligence),

मनसा (mind), शान्ति (peace), चित्त (elevated state of consciousness), स्मृति (memory), स्मरण (recall) and विज्ञान (application of knowledge).

From this scientific inquiry, this pursuit of the truth is to be obtained the ultimate creative bliss for the greater good of mankind. It is this Vision of Technology for Development that I am inspired by and it is this spirit of Scientific Advancement that gives me optimism about the future.

The road ahead for Artificial Intelligence depends on and will be driven by Human Intentions. It is our intention that will determine the outcomes of artificial intelligence. With every industrial revolution, the scalability of technology has increased manifold. This has given human increasingly more power to create an impact in whatever he does through technology. It is this ethic of development that will ensure equity for all people. The March of Technology cannot be at the expense of further increasing the difference between societies over access to technology. The evolution of technology has to be rooted in the ethic of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas.

Friends, Can we take the global lead on creating Artificial Intelligence that is less about making humans redundant and more about enhancing human abilities and expanding human capacities. Can we make the future, less about machines displacing humans to a future about humans becoming better humans by converting their weaknesses into their strengths for the greater good of mankind?

Friends, at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and Human understanding is the solution to many problems we are facing. We need to Make Artificial Intelligence in India and Make Artificial Intelligence work for India.

I would urge all of you to identify the grand challenges that Artificial Intelligence can solve for India. We are such a diverse nation of tens of languages and hundreds of dialects. Can we have intelligent Artificial Intelligence that makes communication and conversations across these languages and dialects easier? I have always believed that the Divyangs are our asset and the nation owes it to them to empower them.

Can we have Artificial Intelligence and Robotics that enhance their abilities empowering them to perform tasks and bring out their true potential? Can the combination of teachers and Artificial Intelligence help us bridge the gap in the teacher-student ratio? This will help us deliver quality education to every student across India. Can Artificial Intelligence help us take quality healthcare to every corner of India by expanding the capacities of our healthcare workers? Can Artificial Intelligence help us predict natural calamities? Can Artificial Intelligence help us detect serious health conditions before they manifest physically? Can Artificial Intelligence help our farmers make the right decisions regarding weather, crop, and sowing cycle?

Friends, our Government is of the firm belief, that we can use this power of twenty-first-century technology to eradicate poverty and disease. In doing so, we can bring prosperity to our poor and underprivileged sections. We are committed to achieving this vision. The Digital India Initiative aims at transforming India into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy. Under Bharat-Net, we are providing broadband Internet connectivity to our villages. This digital infrastructure/ provides the backbone for innovative IT solutions for service delivery and innovative applications.

The Union Government’s National Skill Development Mission is also aimed at ensuring a rightly-skilled workforce, keeping in mind global job requirements of the next few decades. We have also launched the Atal Innovation Mission to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. Its objective is to serve as a platform for the promotion of world-class Innovation Hubs, Grand Challenges, Start-up businesses, and other self-employment activities, particularly in technology-driven areas. The Atal Innovation Mission is establishing Atal Tinkering Laboratories in schools across India with a vision to encourage one million children in India to become young innovators. Through these steps, we aim to keep pace with emerging technologies so that they can be used for the benefit of our people.

Friends, I am sure, the scientists, researchers, and pioneers at this Institute will have the best interests of the common people of India in their hearts, as they go about their work. I wish them well in their efforts. I hope that India shall be in a unique position to show the entire world how Artificial Intelligence can be applied safely and responsibly for the benefit of the people.

I am pleased to inaugurate this institute and hope that it shall remain committed to the service of our people.  

Source: Press Release

Release ID: 1520873

Date: February 18, 2018

PIB Delhi

Prime Minister's Office