Nasscom to set up centres of excellence for AI, data sciences in Bengaluru, H'bad; promote startups in new age tech

Mumbai: The software industry lobby Nasscom is setting up centres of excellence on artificial intelligence (AI) and data sciences for a better understanding on the emerging technologies, a top official has said.

With the tech world getting divided between whether or not to regulate AI, the body feels that technologies should be freely allowed to mature first before any regulation comes in, its president R Chandrasekhar has said.

"We are setting up a centre of excellence on AI and data sciences in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. They will look at mapping the resources available in the country, promoting startups in that area and also best practices globally, including regulatory aspects," he said.

He, however, did not offer the investment that will go into these proposed centres nor a timeline as to when the first centre of excellence will be functional.

When sought his views on regulation of technologies, he said, "in the new-age technologies, regulation is important but it need not always precede the advent of technology as technology is evolving so quickly that regulation has only to keep pace with that."

Representational image - Reuters

Representational image - Reuters

It can be noted that the tech world has been vertically divided over the aspect of regulation, with Tesla founder Elon Musk pitching for regulation, while Facebook's Mark Zuckerburg opposing it.

"Whichever side you are on, the time has not come to make laws which will guide behaviour of robots and create an IPC (Indian Penal Code) for robots," Chandrashekhar quipped.

He said we have been too pessimistic because of the advent of new technologies and its impact on the sector, which gets us revenues of upwards of $150 billion and creates 4 million direct jobs.

In the interview before companies started announcing their Q2 numbers, Chandrasekhar said the industry is on track to achieve the body's revenue growth forecast of up to 8 percent this fiscal year.

"I believe we are on track as far as the revenue growth guidance is concerned," he said.

"When we said there is no need to panic, everybody said you are trying to paint a rosy picture where none exists. Now some people are saying actually things are not so bad, they are looking up now and the future looks better," he added.

He, however, conceded that new technologies will require fewer people to do the same work and added that domestic software companies are in the process of re-aligning themselves to the changing contours of their business.

On protectionism concerns as well, Chandrasekhar said we are being overtly concerned on the impact of such moves on the country.

"As far as the India value proposition is concerned, it is as strong as ever. In fact it has become stronger today," he said.

"Our opportunity in those countries is not a gift from those countries, it is a need which they have but cannot fulfill, and thus which we are fulfilling," he reasoned. When asked about currency fluctuations, he said the industry would like the volatilities to be at a minimal level but Nasscom has not issued any advisories in the wake of the recent swings in the rupee.


Published Date: Oct 20, 2017 12:10 pm | Updated Date: Oct 20, 2017 12:21 pm