Recent strides in generative AI, spanning a mere few months, have cast light on the impact of automation on our current reality and the future it is forging. This has, in turn, raised a fundamental question: What role will our successive generations play in the impending AI-driven future?

Traditionally machines were primarily restricted to analytical tasks. However, the landscape of artificial intelligence is undergoing a transformation as a result of enhanced models, wider access to novel datasets, and the growing potency of advanced hardware – resulting in remarkable discoveries in areas of predictive healthcare, food and hunger, education and climate.

Insilico Medicine, a biotechnology company based in Hong Kong, has been harnessing the power of AI for years to revolutionise therapies in debilitating diseases. A potential drug identified through its AI platform has progressed to Phase 2 clinical trials for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Throughout the preclinical drug discovery journey, Insilico harnessed generative AI at every juncture.

In another example, researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a novel AI based tool that can detect Alzheimer’s disease with almost 90 per cent accuracy from routinely collected brain imaging.

New vs old

Had Insilico adhered to traditional methods, the endeavour would have consumed more than $400 million and spanned over six years. However, with the prowess of generative AI, Insilico achieved the same feat at a mere fraction of the cost and time — propelling them into Phase 1 clinical trials a mere two and a half years after commencement.

This underscores why we should care about AI and why we should care about who controls AI.

The most recent AI index, published by Tortoise Global to assess US and China’s competitiveness in AI dominance, reaffirms the US as the undisputed frontrunner, closely pursued by China.

It’s equally valuable to highlight nations such as Singapore, Israel, Switzerland, excelling in AI intensity. For these nations, AI isn’t merely a concept — it’s a strategic necessity to overcome demographic challenges and spur aggressive productivity growth.

It was however curious to discover India securing the 14th position on the list, even though our rankings in areas such as infrastructure, investment, and research and development are relatively modest. Our position within the top 15 is solely contingent on a single attribute — our remarkable AI Talent. This strategic competitive advantage gains significance in an era where AI’s potential to amplify productivity is paramount.

While India ranks 1st in terms of AI skill penetration as per OECD and has also recently secured the 1st and 5th ranks in AI talent concentration and AI scientific publications, we need to shift the conversation from AI talent to fostering a ‘Generation AI’.

The time has come for India to engineer a transformative watershed moment in its talent strategy.

To unleash the complete potential of Generation AI, we recommend a three-tier pyramid framework: “few,” “many,” and “all.”

* The first tier — the “FEW” targets the pressing requirement for nearly a million top-tier AI professionals worldwide — ranging from developers to analysts. How do we ensure that every AI professional in this tier is injected with the skills to deliver that accelerated efficiency and performance?

* The second tier: “MANY” — empowering white-collar workforce with skills to prudently employ AI tools for enhanced productivity across sectors. Provide training in domain fundamentals, AI tool usage, and Responsible AI.

* Lastly the “ALL” — A billion plus AI literate citizens – envisioning an entire generation of citizen proficient in AI literacy to confidently utilize AI tools to their advantage.

Innovative thinking and fostering extensive collaboration can make all this happen.

Controlling the AI talent supply positions India as the world’s AI epicentre. The imprint of India on the global AI landscape is not a matter of “if,” but “when”.

The writer is President, NASSCOM