How is Microsoft India leveraging artificial intelligence to address the evolving demands of the Indian workforce, and what specific initiatives or technologies are you excited about?
In today’s constantly evolving hybrid world, the needs and preferences of employees are also changing. At Microsoft India, our endeavor is to power the modern workplace by providing organizations and individuals with the right tools and technologies to make hybrid work, work seamlessly for everyone.
We are now leveraging AI to address the changing needs of the Indian workforce, shape the future of work, and transform productivity and engagement for all. Our goal is to usher in a new era of work by harnessing AI across our products and solutions. This next generation of AI, what we call “Copilot,” is a game-changer. It’s different from the AI we’re used to – it’s not just powering online experiences but working alongside us. Copilots are already making an impact, assisting software developers, and enhancing business processes like sales, marketing, and customer service.
At Microsoft, we have made a conscious design choice to put human agency, both at a premium and at the center of our product. Looking ahead, we believe this next generation of AI will unlock a new wave of productivity growth, with Copilots designed to remove drudgery from our daily tasks and jobs, freeing us to rediscover the joy of creation. Copilot is integrated into Microsoft 365 apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Teams. We’ve also introduced Business Chat, a transformative experience that leverages data and insights from various sources. In the last few months we have introduced AI co-pilot capabilities across our solution areas with GitHub Copilot, Dynamics 365 Copilot, Security Co-Pilot, Microsoft 365 and Viva Copilot, with an aim to enable the country’s workforce to achieve more.
With the adoption of AI accelerating in India, what are the key challenges and opportunities you see in terms of preparing the workforce for an AI-driven future?
Every sector and industry today is transforming with AI. AI serves as a force multiplier to amplify human ingenuity and energizes employees to do their best work. The findings from our latest Work Trend Index (WTI) Report 2023 throws light on the future of AI in the world of work – it highlights an unexpected AI-employee alliance that has emerged. While 74% of Indian workers are worried that AI will replace their jobs, on the other hand, 83% of them would delegate as much work as possible to AI to lessen their workloads.
If organizations are able to embrace AI as an efficient tool, they will get significant opportunity that will enable them to reduce drudgery for their employees, empower them to work smarter and more efficiently, and give back their time and energy. By doing so, they can ultimately increase productivity of the organization at large, leading to greater innovation and success. This will radically transform how computers help us think, plan, and act.
However, while the widespread deployment of AI technologies opens up numerous opportunities for the Indian workforce, it is important for employees to adopt and adapt to this change efficiently. Findings from our WTI Report 2023 highlight that work will demand a new AI aptitude now – 90% of Indian leaders say that employees they hire will need new skills to be prepared for the growth of AI while 78% of Indian workers say they don’t currently have the right capabilities to get their work done.
Therefore, there needs to be an increased focus on reskilling and upskilling the existing workforce, for them to remain relevant in this increasingly AI-driven job market. This requires significant investment in training and development programs.
Additionally, addressing the ethical and societal implications of AI, such as bias in algorithms or job displacement, is crucial. Fostering a culture of continuous learning and adaptability is essential, as the AI landscape will continue to evolve rapidly.
In light of the ongoing digital transformation and AI integration in the workplace, is Microsoft India also collaborating with educational institutions to ensure that future generations are equipped with the necessary skills for an AI-driven job market?
AI can solve some of the toughest problems faced by the country and we are committed to empowering India’s youth and upcoming workforce with the necessary skills to prepare them for an AI-driven job market.
We collaborated with the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to build up capability for AI learning for schools. We have also tied up with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs to make AI curriculum available to students in English and Hindi at the Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) and Ashram Schools across the country.
We have also partnered with the Directorate General of Training (DGT), Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship (MSDE), to train students and educators at government-led Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and National Skills Training Institutions (NSTIs). A wide range of courses, including training in AI, cloud computing, web development, and cybersecurity skills are being offered to nearly 6,000 students and 200 faculty members. Further, we recently announced our collaboration with the Ministry of Education, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to empower students and educators in India with essential digital skills across AI, cloud computing, data science, data analytics, and security.
Emerging technologies like AI are redefining the job market as we move towards a more automated, smarter future. These collaborations, involving government bodies, educational institutions, and non-profits, will collectively equip the next generation with essential skills for success in the digital economy.