The whole talk about generative artificial intelligence (like ChatGPT) taking away jobs is “zero, nonsense, bakwas”, says Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship. 

In an interaction with journalists after his visit of the Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering & Research (SAMEER) here, the minister said the Artificial General Intelligence, where AI can mimic humans in terms of reasoning, is a long way away.  

The current generative AI is “very task focused”. Some mechanical tasks that are part of a job can be done more efficiently by generative AI. That may replace human beings in some jobs and one would have to figure out how to upskill the persons so that they do some other jobs. 

India, contrary to being afraid of AI, is working on making use of it. Two years ago, the Prime Minister launched the INDIAai programme, under which all the government data, after being anonymised, would be made available to Indian start-up and Indian researchers for AI research, Chandrasekhar said, emphasising on the word ‘Indian’, to stress that no foreign entity would have access to the data. 

“Very soon we will be announcing the entire architecture of that. An India Data Management Office would be set up to specify standards for anonymisation,” the minister said. 

C-DAC to develop AI compute 

Chandrasekhar, a former tech-entrepreneur himself, said that development of generative AI has two basic requirements – data set and AI compute. (‘AI compute’ refers to the computational resources required for artificial intelligence systems to perform tasks, such as processing data, training machine learning models, and making predictions.) 

(While data sets are available with India), the government-owned Center for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune, is working with the private sector to create AI compute, he said. 

India will develop models that will enable even Indians who don’t know English to use the internet, he said.  

Chandrasekhar pointed out that 830 million Indians use internet today, a number that will go up to 1.2 billion in a few years. “We are the largest connected people in the world,” he said, adding that India, therefore, has a leadership position to development laws and protocols to “show the way” to the world. He mentioned the upcoming Digital India Act, in this context.