China India should lead BRICS Artificial Intelligence cooperation

China Plus Published: 2017-07-14 18:29:04
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By Prasoon Sharma

In March 2015, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang unveiled the China Internet Plus (CIP) plan, “to integrate mobile Internet, cloud computing big data, and the Internet of Things with modern manufacturing, to encourage the healthy development of e-commerce, industrial networks, and Internet banking, and to get Internet-based companies to increase their presence in the international market.” With annual ICT investment worth 2.7 trillion yuan (US$415 billion) and 731 million internet users, China is looking to re-boost its economy through Internet Plus.

In July 2015, Indian Prime Minister Sh.Modi launched Digital India program (DIP) to transform India into digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. For DIP, India will spend `1.13 trillion INR in the next three-five years to provide Internet connections to all citizens. The plan is likely to create over 17 million direct and 85 million indirect jobs. 

During 4th India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue held in Delhi, India on October 7th, 2016, an Action Plan on "Digital India” and "Internet Plus” between the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology of India and National Development and Reform Commission of China was agreed.

 China India should lead BRICS Artificial Intelligence cooperation

China India should lead BRICS Artificial Intelligence cooperation

In January 2017, Infosys presented a report in World Economic Forum on Artificial Intelligence (AI). This report revealed a surprising fact that China-India’s companies AI maturity score is much higher than of US companies

In March 2017 at the opening of the the National People's Congress, the annual meeting of China's top legislature, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced another historic step by showing strong determination to support Artificial Intelligence’s future growth. In the same meeting, Robin Li, founder of Chinese search engine Baidu Inc., made proposals for regulators to consider using artificial intelligence to crack down on human trafficking and to reduce traffic jams in cities. According to a study done by IIT, Madras, Traffic congestion on Delhi roads cost around $10 billion annually. Thus, cooperation between India-China on AI will be win-win situation for both countries.

 China India should lead BRICS Artificial Intelligence cooperation

China India should lead BRICS Artificial Intelligence cooperation

However in terms of resources like infrastructure, research and talent pool, China is much ahead of any other BRICS countries in AI domain. As shown below, China is next to US in terms of total AI companies and total number of patent filed in AI domain.

As per report published jointly by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) and consulting firm PwC, AI can be applied to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiatives such as the Digital India initiative, Skill India and Make in India; in large-scale public endeavours ranging from crop insurance schemes, tax fraud detection, and detecting subsidy leakage.

For example, Farmer (Kisan) Call Centres can respond to issues raised by farmers instantly and in their local language. An AI system can assist this call centre by linking soil reports from government agencies to the environmental conditions prevalent over the years using data from a remote sensing satellite. The call centre could, then, provide advice on the optimal crop that can be sown in that land pocket. This information could also be used to determine the crop’s susceptibility to pests. 

Thus, China-India and especially BI (Baidu - Infosys) should work together to induce AI in BRICS.  If implemented successfully and in synergy, this cooperation can improve life of almost 40% of world population and can boost the world economy by reenergising two world ’s fastest growing economies i.e. India and China.

 China India should lead BRICS Artificial Intelligence cooperation

China India should lead BRICS Artificial Intelligence cooperation

Since long, BRICS countries are considered the beacon of hope for the global economy. Owing to an increased mining of raw materials and the outsourcing of numerous Western branches of industry to low-labour-cost countries, investors expect long-term yields. But, Brazil and Russia are becoming less attractive as demand for raw materials is currently very low. With AI, the technical development of production robots, many companies producing in low- labour-cost countries will relocate their production sector to the countries where they originally came from. Thus during BRICS summit 2017, AI skill development centre and AI Task force should be announced to prepare the future blueprint of AI cooperation framework. As China-India already have national policy named China Internet plus and Digital India, companies like Baidu and Infosys as well as students with good mathematics background should lead this drive to promote and support AI growth in BRICS countries. This drive can be named as iBRICS- Intelligent BRICS which resembles BRICS countries with strong AI capabilities.

(Prasoon Sharma  is Fellow at India Global ,a think tank formed by US & UK based Indians, and Visiting Research Fellow at Qianhai Institute of Innovative Research (QIIR) , Shenzhen, ranked among top 35 Global New think Tank in 2016 by University of Pennsylvania )

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