HomeConnectivityIndia hot-houses AI, blockchain and drones in new centre for industrial revolution

India hot-houses AI, blockchain and drones in new centre for industrial revolution

A new Industry 4.0 design and policy centre has been opened in India by the World Economic Forum, in conjunction with the Indian government and the major industrial states of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Its first projects will focus on artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and drones.

The Delhi-based facility, dubbed the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is part of an expanding network of Industry 4.0 centres, also covering the USA, China and Japan. The National Institute for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) will coordinate the new facility’s on behalf of the government to co-design policies and protocols for emerging technologies.

Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, said: “The fourth industrial revolution will change how we live. To make technological progress human centred, we must work together and create the necessary essential principles and policy standards to ensure that we use the full potential for better lives.”

India is putting major focus on AI and machine learning, and on blockchain and distributed ledger technology. The first job for the new centre will be to seek ways to accelerate the adoption of AI to tackle challenges with education, healthcare and agriculture, the World Economic Forum said.

The second job for the centre is to focus on the application of smart contracts to boost productivity and transparency while reducing inefficiency.

Amitabh Kant, chief executive at NITI Aayog, commented: “India can be a global leader in industrial technologies. We need to accelerate the adoption of artificial intelligence and blockchain across the country. Democratising innovation in the artificial intelligence value chain is critical to leverage its true potential and to build sustainable business models.

“Similarly, blockchain and smart contracts can transform the ease of doing business in India. Together with the Centre of Fourth Industrial Revolution India, NITI Aayog will conduct pilots to explore use cases that can exploit the advantages of these technologies.”

The Government of Maharashtra is planning to undertake a drone mapping operation in the agriculture sector in partnership with the centre. A group of public and private sector agencies, including farmer organisations, will co-design a data platform to increase crop yields in a responsible manner.

Devendra Gangadharrao Fadnavis, chief minister of Maharashtra, said: “For the first time, we will undertake a project on drones to collect the data that will enable us to improve crop productivity, crop disease surveillance, agriculture prediction and how to advise farmers on appropriate farming practices.

“Drones have the potential to revolutionise the agriculture sector. This project will coincide with India’s new drones policy and will showcase how drones can help tackle some of society’s toughest challenges. This model could be scaled across India and globally.”

Projects will be scaled across India and globally. As part of the World Economic Forum’s global network, the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution India will work closely with project teams in San Francisco, Tokyo and Beijing to share findings and accelerate impact.

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