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Microsoft says AI-led biz could hit USD 500B in India; healthcare showstopper

Satya Nadella, who has completed 10 years as the Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft, believes that an economy powered by artificial intelligence (AI) can drive growth by four times.

“If the Indian economy is going to be $5 trillion, the AI-driven part of it could be something like 10% of it, maybe $500 billion of it,” Nadella said.

Microsoft CEO believes AI is tangibly changing economic productivity, whether it’s for software development, frontline work in retail and healthcare, or its access to citizens. He said he has not not seen a general purpose technology like this that can have this kind of a broad impact.

India has a tremendous opportunity to use AI in a broad sectoral way, public and private sector across every industry, healthcare, retail, energy, he said, adding that Microsoft wants to be India’s co-pilot as the economy takes advantage of AI, creates and has its own AI products across all sectors and exports them to the world.

While he acknowledged that AI will lead to job displacement, he asserted that there will be new jobs, people’s ability to go up the learning curve will be faster and better, and there would be an even better wage support for some of the things in the front line.

“There are new jobs that didn’t exist around labelling data. These are now being essentially syndicated out to rural India, where women mostly are able to find better wage support, that is, 20 times the wages compared to what is the general wage, for doing AI jobs,” he said.

Nadella said he is very optimistic that India has both the policy tools and the actual tools to help manage this transition in a net positive way.

When asked about what it will take for Microsoft to invest in India, he said, “The way I think about it is if Microsoft has x revenue inside a country, that means there needs to be 99% more revenue created because of the output of computing and so that’s kind of how we will invest.” This, he said, being powered by things like cloud computing with frontier models, open source models, and small language models among others.

Nadella also said that Microsoft is putting in its capital, but is also building its own data centres. It has four regions and the firm will keep expanding. “We are investing in our own people in India, not only as a source of human capital that’s producing products for us all over the world but also helping customers, the IT services companies that serve the world from here, equipping them with the latest and greatest.” CNBCTV18

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