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AI can be used to alleviate poverty: Manu Chopra at Mint AI Summit

New Delhi: Artificial intelligence (AI) must be used be as a catalyst to alleviate poverty in India during this decade, Manu Chopra, chief executive officer of Karya Inc., said at the Mint AI Summit.

“We should use AI not just to innovate, but to inspire, not just to develop, but to dignify, and not just to advance the interest of all of us, but to amplify the voices of those left behind,” he added. “India has 230 million poor people, more than any other country in the world, and I strongly believe that we are poised to remove most people out of extreme poverty in this decade. Karya’s goal is to see how AI can catalyze that process.”

While elaborating on how it can be achieved, Chopra also highlighted how AI, the data annotation sector, or the AI services sector, is pretty exploitative. “Workers can only make as little as 30 cents per hour in an industry worth billions of dollars a year. And, AI today is an unjust labour market… The Internet was created 30 years ago, and even today, 2.9 billion people in the world have no access to the internet. You have a data sector that is worth billions of dollars, and your data set is worth hundreds of dollars per hour, but workers are being paid in pennies on the dollars, and being exploited.”

Chopra said that Karya is addressing poverty by engaging communities in rural India, providing them with wages exceeding the industry average by over 50 times. “We redirect the industry standards. We redirect the majority of client revenue straight to our workers. We invest in them beyond just giving them work. And, we create pathways out of poverty for them,” he added. “The current ecosystem provides our workers a way to earn money to get skills so that they can keep making that money.”

Karya works with some of the IT giants, including Microsoft, and Google, the Gates Foundation as well as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), besides other partners. The company is channeling a portion of the trillions of dollars earmarked for AI services between 2023 and 2030 directly for the people in rural India through wages, he added.

“Fundamentally, today, you have millions of rural Indians who have access to a smartphone, a bank account, an internet connection, and whose languages have a rising economic value that intersections of factors does not exist anywhere else in the world. India’s big digital revolution has made our poor more connected than any other poor in the world. And this gives us an entirely new opportunity to accelerate social mobility in rural India, and move our communities out of poverty, once and for all,” he said.

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Published: 08 Dec 2023, 11:38 PM IST

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