Artificial Intelligence and the Death of Indian IT Sector

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Harpreet Singh is the Founder and Co-CEO of Experfy, big data and IoT consulting and training marketplace that offers courses to learn big dataiot analytics, and big data management based in the Harvard Innovation Launch Lab. A Harvard-trained PhD, he works at the intersection of big data, IoT and analytics, developing strategy, roadmaps, advanced algorithms and high performance AI systems.

Over the last 25 years, India has emerged as an important destination for information technology—the low-cost counterpart for IT services that China is to low-cost manufacturing. But the low-end IT services niche that India occupies is highly vulnerable to the next phase of technological disruption in automation and artificial intelligence as novel capabilities such as self-repairing code reduce the need for the large-scale deployment of cheap IT professionals. Voice-enabled everything and increasing customization will make near-sourcing both practical and desirable which in turn lessens if not eliminates demand for the call centers that India has become famous for. Fully 69% of the jobs in India are at risk of displacement due to the emerging revolution in artificial intelligence and automation. India’s IT industry which is based upon a strong and perhaps excessive commitment to the study of highly technical subjects in its schools and universities needs to adapt to a new era in which technical acumen must be balanced with the creative insights and empathy that flow from the study of the humanities. It is the latter skillset that empowers one to climb the value chain to become a software architect rather than a tester; a systems designer rather than a low-end coder; a creator of content rather than a grunt IT worker.

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