Rajeev Chandrasekhar rubbishes comments about AI taking away jobs as bakwas

Chandrasekhar said government was working with a data sets programme where government-anonymised data would be made available to Indian artificial intelligence researchers and startups

July 08, 2023 11:23 am | Updated 12:18 pm IST - Chennai

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, at the 113th AGM of SICCI, in Chennai.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, at the 113th AGM of SICCI, in Chennai. | Photo Credit: Bijoy Ghosh

Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar termed as "nonsense, bakwas" comments about artificial intelligence taking away jobs in India.

The Minister of State for Electronics, Information and Technology said Artificial Intelligence (AI) today is task-focused and essentially makes tasks more efficient, mimicking human behaviour.

"I am sorry to be sounding cynical. In 1999, the whole of 1999, I heard how Y2K is going to wipe out the world. Then I hear AI will finish our jobs and there are obviously people who want to look at the worst-case scenario of any innovation. AI will finish our jobs, zero, nonsense, bakwas," he said.

Also Read | Indian job market to see 22% churn in 5 yrs; AI, machine learning among top roles: WEF

"Generative AI today is task-focused and essentially makes tasks more efficient, mimicking human behaviour..."

Mr. Chandrasekhar was talking to reporters after unveiling the fully automated state-of-the-art electromagnetic interference and compatibility laboratories at the Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research (SAMEER) in Chennai on Friday.

He said the government was working with a data sets programme where government-anonymised data would be made available to Indian artificial intelligence researchers and startups.

"These are data sets that would be offered on a curated basis and the design for those five works was set up by the Ministry," the Minister said.

Two consultations were held and very soon the government would be announcing the entire architecture of the data sets programme.

On the semiconductor industry in India, he said the government was engaged in building a semiconductor ecosystem which is expected to come up in three to five years.

Elaborating, Mr. Chandrasekhar said 18 months ago there were none and today we have got almost 30 startups engaged in semiconductor design.

Also Read | AI boom is dream and nightmare for workers in India, global South

"You see, in IIT Madras, which was supposed to be a PhD project, is receiving private capital funding asking it to grow...that is the difference in 18 months. It is not government money. It is private investors backing a company to do the next generation of computers from semiconductors design from Chennai," Mr. Chandrasekhar said.

He said India would soon have a semiconductor research centre and the country would be a player in the global semiconductor value chain.

"We are going to end up doing in 10 years what China took 30 years to do and failed. China has spent $2 billion in the last 15 years in trying to create a semiconductor industry, and what do they have today? In Hindi there is a phrase, zero battey sannata," the Minister said.

"This [semiconductor design] is really transformative and what is this really why we are confident is because electronics as an industry did not exist pre-2014 and had been laid to waste because of imports. Today, we [India] are a trusted and significant player in electronics...," he said.

"In three-five years, we will have a fully competitive world-class semiconductor ecosystem in India," he added.

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