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Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani on Monday said data is a vital national resource that will act as raw material for artificial intelligence (AI)-led development. He said India will have an advantage over its peers in the future due to its enormous digital capital.

“In the past, nations have competed on physical capital, financial capital, human capital and intellectual capital. But, in the coming decades, nations will increasingly compete on digital capital," Ambani said at Raise 2020 Summit (Responsible AI for Social Empowerment, 2020).

The chief of India’s most-valued company said artificial intelligence is indispensable to India’s tryst with digital destiny, expressing confidence in the Centre that it would introduce a regulatory framework for data protection and privacy.

“We are confident that the government will introduce some data regulation framework to protect this national resource and ensure data privacy," Ambani said at the five-day summit inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Ambani said India’s digital capital will enable faster economic growth, make small businesses Atma Nirbhar (self-reliant), modernise agriculture and multiply farm incomes, and create an ecosystem for affordable healthcare and education.

What Ambani said for AI-driven digitisation on macro level echoes with the aim of RIL arm, Jio Platforms Ltd, to connect billions of Indians through internet and data-based services.

Ambani through Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, India’s largest telecom operator by market share and a subsidiary of Jio Platforms, wants to make India ‘2G mukt’ or 2G free.

The telco plans to onboard more 4G customers with cheaper potspaid tariff schemes, connect users via fixed-line broadband services in two and three-tier towns and roll out 5G network that will not only link people but also have devices and applications connected.

Ambani’s digital plans are strengthened by Jio Platforms raising 1.52 trillion from global invesstors such as Google Inc and Facebook in less than four months. Proceeds from stake sale in Jio Platforms will be partly used to realise the company’s 5G goals.

“India has delivered 4G broadband coverage… We have gone from 155th in the world to number one in mobile data consumption. With 5G around the corner, India will maintain its leadership position," Ambani said.

Raise 2020 is a global virtual summit on artificial intelligence (AI). The aim of the summit is to kick-start discussion on the creation of robust AI-powered public infrastructure that benefits people in India as well across the world.

So far, Raise has had over 60,000 participants from 139 countries in an AI innovation contest, said Amitabh Kant, chief executive, NITI Aayog, a policy think tank for the Centre. Kant also attended the virtual summit.

The AI innovation contest titled Atma Nirbhar Bharat invited solutions in areas such as healthcare, education, agriculture, smart mobility and natural language processing. The top 15 AI solutions have been selected by a jury, and will be awarded 2 million each.

The contest was organised during 14-29 September in the run up to the main event.


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