Nandan Nilekani, Chairman of Infosys Limited said that companies should use technology to amplify human capacity and not as a replacement for humans. Speaking at the WEF India Economic Summit 2019, Nilekani said that thinking of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a replacement for humans is a very negative way of looking at things. "It is about the amplification of human capability. It is about using technology to amplify people, get their potential going. If we can use technology as amplification of human capacity as opposed to a replacement of human being, it is a far better way to do it," said Nilekani.
Nilekani was in conversation with Heng Swee Keat, Deputy PM and finance minister of Singapore and Rishad Premji, Chairman of Infosys Limited. "Often in Silicon Valley, the argument is 'substitution'. You have the previous CEO of Uber saying, 'I am going to get rid of the guy at the front of the car,' meaning you are going to get rid of all the drivers. Another person addressing a doctors' convention saying they are going to be redundant. So there's this bit of...you know...we will use this AI and tech and make people redundant and I think it is a very negative way of doing it," he said.
Speaking about big data, Nilekani said, "Individual Indians will be data rich before they are economically rich. Credit will follow the data." Rishad Premji added that India is still scratching the surface in terms of harnessing big data and new technologies in India.
The panel also agreed that an issue with emergence of new technologies is to re-skill workers and educate them in broader terms. Deputy PM Heng said that beyond ed-tech it is important to teach social-emotional skills or how to work with other people. "We don't want to delegate that to an app," he said.