Artificial Intelligence has been playing a transformational role across different sectors such as automotive, healthcare, manufacturing and agriculture. With AI playing a prominent role in the 4th industrial revolution, India has been transitioning to Industry 4.0.
While an increasing number of IT and ITES professionals are aspiring for transition into AI, Tech startups are offering lucrative entry-level salaries in the range of ₹ 8-15 LPA for AI developers. Also the growth of the tech startups, are expected to stabilize the demand-supply gap with adequate job opportunities. Apart from core AI, associated industries are also finding appropriate use of AI and ML. There is a huge opportunity to channelise India’s abundant engineering talent to AI in various domains such as E-Commerce (Amazon, Flipkart), fintech (paytm), data science companies (gramener, fractal analytics), top tech companies (Facebook, Google, Microsoft, IBM).
“We have seen spectacular applications of AI in many tasks some examples being self-driving cars, drug repurposing, identifying diabetic retinopathy, playing Go better than humans and good quality machine translation. AI-based tech startups are only going to grow creating huge potential and the demand for AI skills,” says Prof. Sudeshna Sarkar, Head, Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering and Centre for Artificial Intelligence at IIT Kharagpur.
The budget for 2018-2019 allocated of Rs 3073 crore for Digital India (which includes AI as a focus area among others). While presenting the interim budget Union Minister Piyush Goyal nine priority areas for tech-driven development in the country banking on digital technologies like AI to give impetus to R&D and production. The Government of India is also going to launch a national program for AI to digitally transform 1 lakh villages in India.
“Fundamentally, AI is going to be a big disrupter in most of the businesses, especially the data-driven businesses. The current Indian talent pool needs to be reskilled and upskilled for businesses utilize the power of AI,” said Aneesh Reddy, alumnus, IIT Kharagpur and Co-founder and CEO, Capillary Technologies.
With the India setting its target on a $10 trillion dollar economy and emerging as an AI superpower in today's data-driven world, the Centre for Artificial Intelligence at IIT Kharagpur and similar other other initiatives by India's top higher educational institutions are shouldering the key responsibility of delivering the skilled human resources who can drive India's AI domain.
But there is a considerable talent shortage of skilled professionals in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. According to NASSCOM estimate, by 2020, the Indian IT industry shall require 1,40,000 professionals with expertise in AI and Data Sciences.
The Centre for Artificial Intelligence at IIT Kharagpur will be able to satisfy the need by providing fresh talent for data sciences and also reskilling the current IT force while addressing the demand and supply gap. The Institute is also expanding the scope of AI skill upgradation beyond the localized boundaries through its satellite centres. The Institute has launched a certificate course on “Foundations of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning” based on industry and student requirements through its outreach centres at Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata and the IIT Kharagpur campus.
While there is a slew of AI courses in India, the course being offered by IIT Kharagpur is a 360 degree rigorous weekend contact program for six months with a balance of hands-on-training and fundamentals targeted towards professionals and final year graduates.
"A majority of corporations that use AI in India use it at scale beyond just pilot projects. We also have a significant cluster of startups using AI-enabled technologies, and an emerging university-industry collaboration environment. Mentoring is a nice way to build an AI talent pipeline with individuals possessing both specialist domain knowledge and experience of applying that with machine learning and data science to actual use cases," said Arijit Patra, IIT Kgp Alumnus and PhD candidate, University of Oxford, Rhodes Scholar
At IIT Kharagpur, the focus is on creating a ecosystem including foundation and application oriented research as well as world class research in AI and ML, state-of-art courses, training, workshops and outreach programs for learning and reskilling. The Centre would also foster strong industry-academia synergy for AI adoption and undertake impactful projects with government and industry. A key focus of the Centre would also be providing platform for incubation platform and support to deep technology based entrepreneurship.
IIT Kharagpur leverages more than three decades of research and contribution with faculty in core AI and applications thereof. The Institute is all set to lay new milestones in India's journey towards an AI powered future.