Maharashtra is betting big on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning by setting up India’s first ever centre for research in AI and the state government is collaborating with the Wadhwani Foundation which is investing over 200 crores to set up the centre in Mumbai. The centre was inaugurated by the Prime Minister on Sunday evening. It will look at solutions for traffic management, agricultural distress and rural and urban healthcare, problems that the state has been unable to resolve.
It’s being described as Maharashtra’s leap of faith in the technology domain
and this centre will put Mumbai on India’s technology map, officials say. “This is in line with the vision of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister in order to create a future ready environment for the state,” says Kaustubh Dhavse, Officer on Special Duty to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
The effort the founders say will be to make the centre a hub for AI in India. Co-founder and former CEO of Information Technology company iGate says the time is just right.
“This would be the perfect time to take the power of AI and apply it to accelerating social development. Interestingly with all of this AI work being done all over the world all of it is being designed for commercial interests and very little is done being done to help people at the bottom of the pyramid and that is what our institute will focus on,” Sunil Wadhwani, Founder of Wadhwani Initiative for Sustainable Health (WISH Foundation) told NDTV.
The institute will be headed Dr. P Anandan, a renowned researcher in computer vision and artificial intelligence with a career spanning over 30 years in academia and industry. “AI is the cutting edge of high tec technology. Moreover, AI for social good is not being done anywhere. There is no institute anywhere in India or abroad whose primary focus is to develop AI technology and apply it to social good. So in that sense, Mumbai becomes a leader right away,” Dr. Anandan said.
The industry too believes that India can become a hub for AI…given its big data potential. Bob Lord, Chief Digital Officer at global technology giant, IBM says “That data will allow you to have different insights than not being able to monitor it all and allow us to make better decisions for our consumers, businesses and schools.”
“I think it’s really exciting and we would like to have more of it in our school and give more access to it so that we can also give birth to future innovations and disruptions,” said Radha Kapur, Founder & ED of Dice Districts.
As the magnetic Maharashtra Business conclave kicks off, the technology sector is going to be key in terms of investments and Maharashtra is keen to showcase its potential in the technology sector to put Mumbai on India’s technology map.