Microsoft yesterday announced plans to train millions of people in India with skills in artificial intelligence, as countries and companies ramp up investment to future-proof workers and capitalise on the opportunities provided by a technology experts warn will kill off jobs and deepen inequality.
Microsoft will help equip two million people with AI skills in India by 2025, CEO Satya Nadella said at an event in Mumbai yesterday.
The company said the training, which will be delivered in conjunction with governments, nonprofit and corporate organisations and communities, will help the future workforce harness AI’s potential.
“The initiative will focus on training people in Tier two and Tier three cities emerging urban areas with smaller populations than major settlements like Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad as well as rural areas,” Microsoft said.
This includes partnering with national and state governments to give basic and advanced AI training to 500,000 students and job seekers, “in-depth AI technical skills training” for 100,000 young women and raising awareness of responsible AI use and AI-enabled careers for 400,000 students in schools in remote and tribal regions.
Nadella, a native of India who took the helm at Microsoft a decade ago, said the country is uniquely positioned to make the promise of AI a reality, adding that Microsoft is committed to helping close the nation’s AI skills gap and create new opportunities.
“AI is really in the air now,” Nadella reportedly said when delivering his keynote address to industry leaders in Mumbai. “It is going to have an impact on GDP,” he said, urging countries to invest heavily in the transformative technology.
He likened the potential social and economic dividends from investing in AI today to how the UK transformed its prospects by pumping 10 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) into railways during the industrial revolution. The rest is history,” he said.
Nadella’s announcement builds on Microsoft’s pledge to train 100,000 developers in AI tools and technologies in India last month.
It is part of a scheme, called ADVANTA(I)GE INDIA, that Microsoft says will help create AI fluency among India’s workforce, government officials and develop AI capacity in nonprofit organisations.