Urban Indians want govt to invest in AI and other emerging techs: Survey

With the growing awareness of emerging technologies among Indian citizens, more than 80% of urban Indians believe that the government should invest in technologies such as artificial Intelligence (AI), 3D printing and quantum computing, for the benefit of the society, according to a recent survey, conducted by market research and opinion polling firm, YouGov.

Interestingly, 70% of the respondents also think that autonomous cars will have a positive impact on society, even though policy makers are yet to enact the laws that authorize autonomous cars in the country.

The survey that explores the awareness levels about new technologies among Indians also highlights the other top technologies most urban Indians have heard “a lot about”. Those include cryptocurrency, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Most of the listed new-age technologies have already penetrated in India, while others may soon catch up.

In India, it is no surprise that the awareness of AI is the highest, with nearly nine in ten (86%) considering it as an important area for govt investment. One of the reasons for this could be the constant efforts of the government to support the development of AI in the country.

At present, the use cases of AI in the government includes biometric identification, facial recognition, criminal investigation, crowd/traffic management, digital agriculture, etc. and to further accelerate the development of the technology, the government is trying to build AI centres that will collaborate with academia and industry to develop AI-based solutions, said the YouGov study, which has collected data online from over 1000 respondents – both government officials and Indian citizens.

Both men and women consider 3D printing important as an area for government investment (83% each), while a much higher proportion of men than women think quantum computing is a crucial field (86% vs 77%).

Conversely, the ones that most urban Indians are unaware of are decentralised autonomous organizations, lab-grown meats, and non-fungible tokens, as per YouGov’s latest survey. In fact, the study finds that a higher proportion of young adults between 18-29-years claim to have heard a lot about AI (59%), cryptocurrencies (59%), and autonomous cars (53%) than others. Meanwhile, the familiarity with Metaverse (37%), lab-grown meat (26%), and decentralized autonomous organizations (25%) is the highest among those aged 30-39 years.

India has always been considered as one of the leading adopters of new technologies. The country is ranked among the topmost attractive investment destinations in the world for technology companies, in which AI technology is playing a vital role in transforming not only businesses, but entire industries, and even our day-to-day lives, believe experts.

In August last year, Gartner projected Indian government’s IT spending to total $8.3 billion in 2022, an increase of 8.6% from 2021. “Digitalization initiatives of Indian government organizations took a giant leap in 2020 because of the global pandemic. The pandemic forced the government to shift priorities as supply chains and revenue streams dwindled,” said Apeksha Kaushik, principal research analyst at Gartner.

Likewise, the other technologies like 3D printing and quantum are already underway and can heavily impact both government and citizens in the country. As Kunal Purohit, Chief Digital Services Officer, Tech Mahindra, told TechCircle via email, “Today, technology has become all pervasive and helps create needle moving outcomes across all industries and governments as well.”

According to him, the development and adoption of advanced technologies, including AI, blockchain, quantum computing etc. not just cut costs and increase efficiency, but can also help India create a marked differentiation in the global market.

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