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Microsoft To Provide 2 Million People In India With AI Skilling Opportunities By 2025: CEO Satya Nadella

During this recent trip to India, the tech major’s CEO highlighted the opportunity for an AI-empowered India

Microsoft To Provide 2 Million People In India With AI Skilling Opportunities By 2025: CEO Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft
POSTED ON February 08, 2024 8:35 PM

“You can only talk about tech as a real thing if it is going to have a real impact on the overall growth of an economy. Definitely today this is the highest growth market; you can see the buoyancy of it. The government and all of you have high ambitions of what’s going to happen by 2025 and what percentage of that growth is going to be driven by AI.”

This was the emphatic statement Microsoft chairman and CEO Satya Nadella made at Microsoft CEO Connection event in Mumbai on Wednesday. He spoke to another gathering of the country’s developers and technology leaders at the Microsoft AI Tour in Bengaluru on February 8.

Kicking off his visit to India by reinforcing the company’s commitment to supporting India’s transformation into an AI-first nation, he maintained that this commitment aligned with the nation’s vision of becoming self-reliant by fostering a skilled AI workforce and empowering every sector and industry to transform with AI. 

Nadella announced that Microsoft will provide 2 million people in India with AI skilling opportunities by 2025, through its new ADVANTA(I)GE INDIA initiative. This will help to close skills gaps across the nation and strengthen India’s ability to thrive in the AI era. 

“I'm very excited to announce a new initiative around skilling. We are going to equip around 2 million+ people in India with AI skills. At the end of the day, taking the workforce and making sure they have the skills in order to be able to thrive in the new age is the most important thing that any of us can do. It is not just the skills but it is also the jobs that get created,” he stated. 

Nadella also highlighted how Microsoft Copilot, along with the company’s other AI solutions, is driving measurable productivity gains for people and organizations by helping them complete work faster and with superior quality. He cited recent research on early users of Copilot for Microsoft 365 that found that they were 29 per cent faster in a series of tasks, including searching, writing, and summarising. 

Many organizations in India are already boosting their productivity and accelerating innovation using Copilot for Microsoft 365 and GitHub Copilot. These include over 300 users at Axis Bank, who have seen a 30 per cent productivity gain in day-to-day operations, around 7,000 Infosys developers using GitHub Copilot, and HCL Tech and LTIMindtree.  

According to the company, companies in India are seeing an average $3.86 return for every US dollar spent on AI projects, and more than 150 organisations are already innovating with Azure OpenAI Service across industries such as agriculture, aviation, e-commerce, and fast-moving consumer goods. They include conglomerates like ITC which has developed the Krishi Mitra chatbot for farmers based on Microsoft’s voice-to-text technology and Air India, which has deployed a generative AI virtual agent called AI.g that has successfully answered over half a million customer queries since its launch in March 2023. 

Denim manufacturer Arvind Limited also expects to save 60 percent of time spent analyzing annual reports with its Annual Report Copilot. The solution helps decision-makers analyze annual reports from multiple years and gain valuable insights promptly, enabling them to produce better business strategies at speed. 

Online fashion retailer Myntra is addressing the challenge of open-ended searches by employing generative AI to assist shoppers in determining suitable outfits for various occasions. Meanwhile, Genpact's AI Guru, a chatbot utilizing OpenAI's GPT-3.5 through Azure OpenAI Service, is elevating the learning experience for senior employees on a global scale. 

Additionally, Cognizant's Innovation Assistant, a tool powered by generative AI and built on Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service, is strategically crafted to absorb enterprise knowledge. Its purpose is to foster increased creativity and innovation within teams tackling client challenges across diverse industries. Each of these initiatives demonstrates the effective integration of advanced AI technologies to enhance user experiences and drive innovation in different domains.

Indian generative AI startup Sarvam AI has announced that it is working with Microsoft to make its Indic voice large language model (LLM) available on Azure. The collaboration reinforces Microsoft’s commitment to enabling AI-driven growth and innovation in India. 

Sarvam AI is also building generative AI models targeting Indic languages and contexts to make the development and deployment of generative AI apps more accurate and cost-effective. The startup’s Indic voice LLM, which intends to provide a natural voice-based interface to LLMs, will initially be available in Hindi and will soon cover other Indian languages. 

Pratyush Kumar, co-founder of Sarvam AI, said, “We are very excited to collaborate with Microsoft to make advanced AI technology accessible and impactful for everyone in India. This partnership embodies our vision of ‘Sarvam’—meaning ‘all’—by enhancing AI’s reach across various Indian languages and sectors.” 

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