Focus: India Spearheading a Revolutionary Move Towards AI Infrastructure
Captivated by the triumphs of preceding digital public infrastructure (DPI) endeavors, India envisions crafting a sovereign AI architecture domestically. Aligning with its commitment to constructing monumental DPI initiatives, India aspires to erect an indigenous sovereign AI infrastructure, as revealed by media reports.
Minister of State for Electronics, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, articulated, “We are resolved to possess our sovereign AI. We can contemplate two alternatives. One is to embrace an AI ecosystem in India, steered by entities such as Google, Meta, Indian startups, and domestic companies. Yet, we firmly opine that this falls short.” Chandrasekhar conveyed these sentiments at a recent event.
The media report intimates that India seeks inspiration from strategies employed by the US and European nations while formulating its unique approach. The Indian government envisions leveraging this technology to forge use cases conducive to social and economic progress.
Arvind Krishna, chairman and CEO of IBM, echoed this sentiment during his recent sojourn to India, stating, “I staunchly believe every nation should possess sovereign AI capabilities, encompassing extensive language models for AI.”
India has already initiated strides in this direction. The Ministry of Electronics and IT released a draft of the National Data Governance Framework Policy, advocating the establishment of a datasets platform housing non-personal and anonymized datasets from central government entities collecting data from Indian citizens. This non-personal data would subsequently be accessible to startups and research organizations.
The policy aspires to revamp the government’s data collection system, enhancing governance and nurturing the startup ecosystem in this domain. Exploring avenues, the government contemplates requesting major tech entities like Google and Facebook to contribute anonymized personal data to the government’s database.
Several other nations concentrate on honing their AI competencies. Singapore, for instance, recently unveiled its National AI Strategy (NAIS 2.0) to cultivate its AI ecosystem.
Reflections on Past DPI Triumphs
In recent years, India directed its efforts toward constructing domestic digital infrastructure, materializing colossal DPI projects like Aadhaar and Unified Payment Interface (UPI). These projects, Aadhaar providing biometric-based identity to all Indian citizens and UPI emerging as a wildly popular payment platform, have garnered global attention. Earlier this year, India witnessed transactions exceeding 10 billion Indian rupees (US$119 million) in a single month.
Recently, India introduced the Global Digital Public Infrastructure Repository (GDPIR) to compile resources and insights from G20 members for designing and constructing DPIs. GDPIR presently amalgamates codes and best practices from 54 DPIs, with India contributing 12 to this collective.
Buoyed by these triumphs, India now seeks to extend its success by establishing a domestic AI platform, striving to lessen reliance on global tech conglomerates.
Insights from Asia-Pacific:
In comparison to India’s pioneering strides in the realm of sovereign AI infrastructure, the geopolitical landscape of the Asia-Pacific region witnesses a dynamic flux in the pursuit of technological advancements. As India sets the stage for an autonomous AI landscape, other nations in the region are also making noteworthy forays into the tech arena.
Countries like Singapore, South Korea, and China are actively engaged in their respective AI pursuits, each delineating distinct strategies tailored to their national objectives. Singapore’s National AI Strategy (NAIS 2.0) reflects a commitment to fostering its AI ecosystem, aligning with the city-state’s vision of becoming a smart nation. South Korea, with its Digital New Deal initiative, emphasizes the integration of AI into various sectors, propelling the nation toward digital transformation.
On the other hand, China, a global powerhouse in technology, has embarked on an ambitious journey to lead in artificial intelligence. The country’s strategic initiatives, such as the New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan, underscore its commitment to advancing AI capabilities and dominating the global tech landscape.
While India’s focus on a sovereign AI infrastructure aligns with the broader trend of nations investing in AI for economic and strategic advantages, the nuanced approaches across the Asia-Pacific highlight the diverse priorities and ambitions within the region. The unfolding narrative of technological evolution in these nations adds a layer of complexity to the global technological landscape, where each country strives to carve its unique path toward AI dominance.