GPAI Summit
Global IndiaAI Summit, 3rd-4th July 2024Official India AI Website

The two day 'Global IndiaAI Summit' concluded last week in New Delhi displaying "India's commitment to advancing the responsible development, deployment, and adoption of AI."

As the Lead Chair of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI), India hosted GPAI member countries, and experts to advance GPAI's commitment to safe, secure, and trustworthy AI.

The Summit focussed on 7 key pillars of the AI ecosystem. Of these 'Future Skilling', especially directed at the informal sector was one track. Towards this focus, a new phone-based AI skilling application will be tested by 20,000 farmers in Maharashtra.

Farmers AI GPAI
Representative imageFuture of Work-Working Group session, Global IndiaAI Summit 2024

AI skilling and awareness:

During the 'Future of Work'(FoW)- Working Group session at the Summit on ' AI Literacy & Intersectionality', it was observed that SMEs and small-scale industries are not sufficiently prepared for the AI advancements that are taking place.

"Billions of dollars are invested in AI Future Skills, but none apply to informal sector workers." Dr B Shadrach, FoW Expert and Project Co-Lead (India) at the Summit noted. Further, "The cost of AI literacy among informal sector workers is unknown."

Focusing on the farm workers, factory workers, single account holder businesses, and informal sector workers who are the backbone of various economies, Dr. Shadrach suggested an AI literacy programme that can help orient millions of informal sector workers. Accordingly, the approach adopted is a generic learning program, which is an open educational resource with a Creative Commons license to help scale up and upskill workers.

 The Government of India already has schemes such as PM-DAKSH (Pradhan Mantri Dakshta Aur Kushalta Sampann Hitgrahi) Yojana which is a National Action Plan "for skilling of marginalized persons covering SCs, OBCs, EBCs, DNTs, Sanitation workers including waste pickers."

Features of the GPAI 'Future Skilling' testing for farmers:

  • A mobile phone-based curriculum in a story-telling format delivered in vernacular languages, relatable to the target population.
  • Designed by experts of the Global South, for conditions that are specific to the sub-continent.
  • It will be tested among 20,000 farmers in Maharashtra.
  • Dr.Shadrach also presented the growth of the product deployment.

Under GPAI, this is the first and only project that deals with India, that is "all about people who are excluded from the mainstream."