The exciting aspect of modern information technology is that it's being used for social good in areas of healthcare, education and agriculture, S Ramadorai, former vice chairman of Tata Consultancy Services, chief guest at the seventh Express IT Awards said on Friday. He added that solutions to mobility even for daily commute could use digitisation and new technologies, including artificial intelligence. These would be welcome disruptions, Ramadorai said.
"Artificial intelligence is being used to weigh newborn babies by scanning the volume of their bodies instead of putting them on the spring scale," he said, citing an example of social impact of new technologies.
While new technologies threaten conventional jobs and demand new skill sets suited for future jobs, Ramadorai said that the problem-solving skills are the most important for innovating solutions for the everyday problems.
He lamented the 'abysmally low' spend by the government and private sector on research and development (R&D), and said that output of R&D exercises could be inputs of other businesses. Ramadorai said that sustainability of technologies was fundamental to an economy in the way material usage to wastage process is to be handled.
Earlier, during a panel discussion, Sharad Sharma, co-founder of iSPIRT Foundation, said that India needed to develop technological solutions tailored to its requirements as no other global template would work for the country.
The bankers on the panel - V Vaidyanathan of IDFC First Bank and Rajiv Anand of Axis Bank - agreed that democratisation of data had enabled them to target retail customers who could earlier use only local moneylenders for their capital needs. Use of Aadhaar, tablets and credit bureaus helped bankers underwrite small businesses and provide them the same quality of service as was available to more affluent customers earlier, Anand said.
Vaidyanathan allayed fears of traditional jobs becoming redundant due to proliferation of technologies. He said that while new services were being created through technologies, they aren't necessarily replacing old ones.