India has talent, resources to make significant strides in Artificial Intelligence, says billionaire investor Tim Draper

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“India has the talent and resources to make significant strides in Artificial Intelligence,” said American billionaire investor, Tim Draper during a panel discussion at the ongoing Digital Bridge 2023 in Astana, Kazakhstan. The 65-year-old venture capital urged all to look at the brighter side of AI, especially its ability to take over mundane tasks that drain human creativity. When asked about his thoughts on India, Draper said that India has boundless potential and it is the right time for Indian companies and investors to adopt AI. “Artificial Intelligence is booming, it’s making waves across industries. When it comes to India, we have a lot of engineers at Draper University. India has the talent and we are involved with a lot of Indian companies. This is definitely the right time for Indian companies to work towards integrating AI into their processes. AI is doing spectacular things, especially in the field of education, I am excited,” he told indianexpress.com. When asked if his firm would be interested in investing in India’s booming tech space, Draper affirmed saying that he was already involved with many companies and would definitely be investing in more companies going forward. At the plenary session, Draper appreciated the vision of Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakhstan, for being open-minded towards AI and its potential. He commended the president’s vision to realise that startups and venture capital can transform an economy, create jobs, and build a better life for people. Draper on AI While talking about the rise of AI, Draper reminisced about the time when people were sceptical about the internet. Draper shared a quote from ‘Dune’ by Frank Herbert – “Fear is the mind-killer”. He said that if we just live in fear and are constantly afraid of what the future’s going to look like, then we will not be able to see it happen. Instead, if one goes forward with the feeling of opportunity, then life is going to be much better. “Everyone feared the Internet. There was all sorts of fear. They spread fear. Fear sells advertising in the media. But, fear is the mind-killer and fear hurts people. So I believe that artificial intelligence and all the cool things it’s going to do are going to bring the human community to an anthropological leap forward,” said Draper. He asserted that AI will create new jobs and will take away all the humdrum jobs. “We are going to have real jobs where we can use our minds, our imaginations, and our creativity to create a new future that is built on artificial intelligence,” he said. The billionaire also recollected the time when he was introduced to the concept of neural networks. He said that earlier AI was a rules-based system. He said that nearly two decades ago, he invested in an AI company that analysed data for 7-eleven (the retail chain) and discovered a unique pattern – customers who bought beers often bought diapers, and vice versa. Draper said that this insight led to the strategic placement of these products in stores, something which a traditional rules-based system may never have made. Leadership and AI Draper also threw light on leadership in the age of AI. He said that today, the world’s most effective leaders trust and empower citizens, while weaker leaders attempt to control and dictate, often leading to conflicts and unrest. The investor said that in an interconnected world, it was vital to move beyond geographical boundaries and embrace global collaboration. “We thrive when we trade, connect, and learn from one another. Strong leaders resemble neural networks, adaptable and insightful, while weak leaders are like outdated expert systems, rigid and limited.” Draper also drew parallels between the Internet and AI. He said that the Internet offers vast information, but doesn’t surpass human intelligence. On the other hand, AI augments our collective intelligence making information more accessible and relatable. Cryptocurrencies are empowering Draper has been a vocal proponent of cryptocurrencies. During his speech at the forum, he reiterated that he was a strong believer in the potential of cryptocurrencies. Draper said that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin empower individuals, especially those without bank accounts as it offers decentralised global currencies. “While some cryptocurrencies have failed due to centralisation, Bitcoin remains decentralised and free from political influence. I envision a future where Bitcoin and similar technologies lead to more transparent and efficient governance.” The author is currently in Astana, Kazakhstan, on an invitation from the organisers of Digital Bridge 2023.

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