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‘Pandemic has advanced digital economy by a decade’

Our Bureau. Chennai | Updated on January 22, 2021

Venu Srinivasan, Chairman, Sundaram-Clayton Group   -  THE HINDU

Chairman of Sundaram-Clayton says pace of change has created a ‘daunting world full of opportunities’

The advent of electronics and information technology has not just changed the basis of wealth creation but have also accelerated the pace of wealth creation and reduced the road to ubiquity for new innovations, Venu Srinivasan, Chairman, Sundaram-Clayton Group said on Friday.

He was addressing a virtual session of the Eleventh Foundation Day Lecture of ICFAI Foundation for Higher Education.

Speaking on the topic, ‘Living in the world of Exponential Technology and Digitalisation’, Srinivasan said, “While the pandemic has disrupted many lives, it has also created a quiet revolution in driving a technological shift and advanced India’s digital economy by a decade.”

He said while the first wave of wealth creation was through occupation of land by landlords and nations, the second wave came through manufacturing and industrialisation. “In the past 30 years, electronics and IT companies such as Microsoft, Google, Apple and Amazon have taken over the world and created huge wealth. In fact, we are now at the cusp of a Phygital world,” Srinivasan said. “The basis of wealth creation is changing. We are seeing an acceleration of change so it will be a very new world out there. A very daunting world yet full of excitement and opportunities,” he added.

He urged students to dream big to build big ventures and reap the benefits of India’s rich demographic strength of youth population. He, however, cautioned that the failure rate in the technology space is 65 per cent. “Speed is important but the speed should be without haste,” he added.

‘Build equitable society’

“While I talked about the huge opportunity to make billions of dollars, 300-400 million Indians are living in dire poverty starting from north-east Andhra Pradesh to Odisha, Chhattisgarh and going all the way up to North-East India,” he said.

“If you want to live a good life then you have to give back and make sure you build an equitable society with a strong social fabric,” he told the students of the institute.

C Rangarajan, Chancellor of the Institution said that the current revolution — based on electronics and artificial intelligence (AI) — is more different, in terms of impact, from the previous revolutions.

Rangarajan said, “The induction of AI has also fundamentally altered the character of the revolution. AI is replacing not what the human labour was doing but what the human mind has been doing.”

‘Need more safety net’

Both production and productivity will increase but the same number of people will not be required to produce that output. “What will be the choice there?” Rangarajan asked, adding, “Social safety nets will become necessary. Not just the industry but states should also build safety nets if the process of digitalisation takes off at a greater speed.”

Published on January 22, 2021

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