Lack of skilled researchers, not funding, is the bigger problem for AI startups | Tech News

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The major hurdle facing Indian AI startups in developing homegrown solutions is not funding but a shortage of skilled researchers in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), investors and founders said at a session at the Global India AI Summit in New Delhi on Thursday.

“India is not lacking in capital and it is being invested in talented founders who are building some of the most interesting companies right now. In the AI ​​space, we are seeing the beginning of an interesting wave of AI application companies,” said Rajan Anandan, managing director at Peak XV, a leading venture capital firm.

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Anandan said the real problem in the field is a shortage of talented AI researchers.

“We need more AI researchers. Where will they come from?… 20 per cent of the world's AI researchers are from India and we need to bring them back. Most of them are in the US and we need to bring them back like China has done in the last 15 years,” he added.

Anandan said India has the highest number of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduates.

“We just need to continue to invest in them over a period of time.”

Anandan said his company has a capital of Rs 16,000 crore. “There is no shortage of capital. We just want more people to start up in the AI ​​space.”

Fellow panelist Abhishek Appahwal, founder and CEO of Socket Labs, said there is a need for great researchers, especially when it comes to building fundamental AI models, an area where Indian startups will have to compete with global giants.

“When it comes to building the foundational model, I'm glad people are talking about the research aspect because ultimately that's really important. Unless we break that particular barrier, we're going to be primarily running and building on what's been done before,” he said.

Citing OpenAI as an example, Upperwal said that due to a lack of resources, Indian companies will end up building on Western models like OpenAI.

“To be on the cutting edge, you have to invest in research and break down that particular barrier,” he added.

The panellists agreed that home-grown AI talent and contextualisation of data used to train language models are key requirements for Indian AI startups.

The meeting concluded on Thursday after two days of discussions and deliberations with participants from around the world.

On Wednesday, members of the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI) at a summit agreed on the group's vision and reaffirmed their commitment to human-centered, trustworthy AI for all.

Immediate Issues

A shortage of skilled researchers is hindering in-house development of AI

Indian AI researchers to be brought back from the US

More investment in STEM graduates needed

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