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  • Voltaire Staff

AI will be factor in India's journey to becoming $5 trillion economy: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

If India is going to be a $5 trillion economy then it must leverage AI as a factor of growth in sectors like energy, retail and healthcare, and not its role in technology sector alone, said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on his annual visit to India.


"Fundamentally, I think that if the Indian economy is going to be a $5 trillion economy, the question is, what is the amount of that economic growth that's going to be driven by a new factor of production?

"So, therefore, I kind of feel that AI - it'll show up... (and help) more productivity in the energy, retail or healthcare sectors. It's not about the tech sector's growth. It's about the tech sector's ability to impact growth across sectors," the top boss at Microsoft told the Economic Times in an interview.

The Indian-origin executive, who has been with the tech giant for 32 years, 10 years at its helm, spoke at length about the role of Microsoft in being a driver of growth in the world economy, as well as his role in betting long on OpenAI when it was still a nascent firm.

"I go back in time then, and pattern match on what it means to be here too. What happened in the year minus two or minus three is the most important thing. You have to make these leaps on what comes next long before it's conventional wisdom," he said.

He added, "For example, our Open AI partnership, our ability to go long on them, and build the compute infrastructure... It is obvious now, but it was not obvious even three-four years ago. That's the learning. When you're in year two of the next thing, you should be already thinking about what is next."

Nadella also spoke about how he is influenced in his predictions by Spanish economics professor Diego Comins, who has written extensively about adoption of technology and its impact on income divergence.

"One is you need to make sure that new technology, especially a general-purpose technology, is adopted wholesale - i.e., don't reinvent the wheel, bring it in, and then intensely use it to create new value. What's happening right now in India is exciting to me," he said.

He said he has found diffusion of AI technology in India to be "exciting" and namedropped startup Sarvam AI – in which Microsoft has invested -- and Bhashini and Jugalbandi in the public sector as some of the new Indian firms which have caused him some optimism.

"The IT sector in India has become early adopters at scale for something like a Copilot because, after all, they're not only going to be doing work in India, but they're going to be showing the rest of the world how to use all of these AI technologies.


"At the end of the day, what's the difference between being a developed country and a developing country? It is just the rate of growth over long periods of time," he said.


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