‘Techno-colonialism’: Bhavish Aggarwal likens tech giants to East India Company, says 20% of global data from India…

Ola founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal coined the term 'techno-colonialism' to describe how global tech giants exploit India's data. Drawing parallels with the British East India Company, he said while India generates 20% of the world's data, the benefits are largely reaped by global tech giants.

Livemint, Written By Shivangini
Published8 Jul 2024, 09:50 AM IST
Bhavish Aggarwal is the founder of Ola and Krutrim
Bhavish Aggarwal is the founder of Ola and Krutrim

Ola founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal has likened the operations by tech giants to the historical exploitation by the British East India Company, and introduced the term "techno-colonialism" to describe how India's data is exported, processed abroad, and then sold back to the country, ANI  reported.

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Aggarwal's concerns about data exploitation

Aggarwal drew parallels between the British East India Company's exploitation of Indian resources and the current data practices of international tech companies. He highlighted that India produces 20 per cent of the world's data, yet the benefits are largely reaped by foreign entities. "Only one-tenth of that (data) is stored in India. 90 per cent is exported to global data centres, largely owned by big techs," he noted. “It is processed into AI, brought back into India, and sold to us in dollars,” ANI reported quoting Aggarwal.

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Aggarwal compared this to the historical context, drawing parallels with the exploitation of India's resources by the East India Company. “This is exactly what happened 200 years ago with the East India Company. They used to export cotton and bring clothes from abroad. Now we're exporting data and bringing intelligence from abroad… Techno-colonialism," as quoted by news agency ANI

Call for self-reliance in technology

Emphasising the need for India to develop its own technological solutions based on indigenous value systems, Aggarwal cited examples like digital public infrastructure. “When I see the future of AI, we have a uniquely Indian idea called digital public infrastructure," he said. “UPI is an example of that. ONDC is an example of that,” as quoted by news agency ANI.

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Aggarwal stressed that in the realm of AI, data ownership should reside with the creators. He also highlighted the importance of acknowledging the origin of content and data creators, per the ANI report.

(With Inputs from ANI)

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First Published:8 Jul 2024, 09:50 AM IST
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