AI not a threat to jobs, instead will create new job opportunities, says India's first Universal AI University founder

AI not a threat to jobs, instead will create new job opportunities, says India's first Universal AI University founder

The advent of AI has sparked innovation across various industries, leading to the creation of millions of new jobs worldwide, says Prof. Tarundeep Singh Anand.

Abhitash SinghUpdated: Sunday, May 28, 2023, 04:59 PM IST
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As India's first Universal AI University becomes operational in Karjat, following the approval from the Maharashtra Government's Higher and Technical Education Department, the institution is gearing up to commence its first academic year on August 1st, 2023. To gain insights into the future of AI, FPJ correspondent had the opportunity to interview Prof. Tarundeep Singh Anand, Chancellor, and Founder of Universal AI University.

Following are the edited excerpts from the interview:

Q1) What is the concept behind the AI University located in Karjat?

AI has emerged as a transformative and disruptive force with profound impacts on various industries, including business, law, and science. In establishing a new university, our objective was to ensure that India remains at the forefront of development, research, and application of these cutting-edge technologies that are rapidly reshaping every sector. We believe it is crucial to equip both present and future generations with the knowledge and skills required to learn, utilize, and drive further advancements in these fields. This vision led to the creation of India's first dedicated AI University, where technology, education, and the serene beauty of nature intertwine. Karjat, renowned for its lush greenery, provides an idyllic setting for immersive learning experiences amidst the tranquility of nature.

Q2) As AI takes center stage as the technology of the future, how does this university distinguish itself from others, being the second of its kind worldwide and the first in India?

In our curriculum, we have integrated AI and emerging technologies across all disciplines starting from the first year. Students who find inspiration in AI have the opportunity to pursue AI pathways throughout their program. We believe it is essential for all students, regardless of their field of study, to comprehend how AI is shaping their respective domains, whether it's psychology, business, commerce, economics, law, or design. Our program emphasizes experiential learning, accounting for 50% to 70% of the overall learning process. This encompasses a combination of classroom learning, self-learning, and community learning. To provide practical industry exposure, our students engage in live industry projects, working in our state-of-the-art Computing Lab, VR/MR/AR Lab, and IoT Lab to solve real-world industry challenges.

Q3) How does this university distinguish itself as the first Green University?

Since our establishment in 2009, we have recognised the critical global challenge of environmental sustainability. As the first Green University, we have implemented various initiatives to address this issue. To significantly reduce our carbon footprint, we have made substantial investments in solar energy, which now covers 70% of our energy requirements. Additionally, we have implemented rainwater harvesting by constructing three dams and employing reverse rainwater-charging techniques to recharge aquifers. Our smart intelligent buildings utilize outer wall cladding designed to leverage the thermos effect and "diju" glass to minimize heat transmission into the buildings. Furthermore, we actively engage in waste recycling to generate valuable compost (known as black gold). Our commitment to energy efficiency is evident through the use of LED lights and BLDC technology in our fans. We have also adopted green sewage treatment plant (STP) techniques to recycle water for gardening purposes. In line with our sustainable transportation goals, we employ electric vehicles for inter-campus transportation. Every student is designated as an SDG Ambassador, ensuring their contribution towards the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. Since 2011, we have been offering courses on various green subjects, such as Green Finance, Green Logistics & Supply Chain, Green HR, and Green Marketing, emphasizing the importance of environmental consciousness in education.

Q4) What subjects will be taught at the university, and how is AI integrated into each curriculum?

In the initial year, all students are introduced to cutting-edge technologies such as AI, IoT, AR/VR, and MR at a national level. Those with a keen interest in these fields have the opportunity to pursue dedicated pathways that offer in-depth knowledge of these new and emerging technologies. As students progress to their final year, they are required to undertake a project that explores the impact of AI on their chosen area of specialization, such as Social Sciences or Law. The curriculum encompasses a range of subjects, including Machine Learning with Python, Cloud Computing, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Big Data, Decision Sciences, and Database Management subsystems. These subjects collectively equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge to navigate the AI landscape effectively.

Q5) How did you secure the support of the Maharashtra government in establishing the first AI University?

The Maharashtra Government has played a crucial role in providing unwavering support throughout the establishment of the AI University. Through our active engagement with expert committees, we have received valuable advice and guidance regarding the development of programs and schools within the university. The Principal Secretary, known for her expertise in education, has offered invaluable insights and recommendations to help create an exceptional learning environment. Their support has been instrumental in shaping the university's vision and ensuring its success.

Q.6) What are the career prospects for global and Indian students in terms of career development?

The advent of AI has sparked innovation across various industries, leading to the creation of millions of new jobs worldwide. As new applications and use cases continue to emerge, we anticipate the development of entirely new job categories in every field. In India, we have a unique opportunity to actively participate in the global race of creativity and innovation, ensuring that we stay at the forefront of this transformative technology.

Q7) What is your perspective on AI? Do you believe it will replace employees in the coming years?

We firmly believe in harnessing the potential of new technologies, such as AI, as they hold the power to revolutionize industries across the board. These technologies are becoming increasingly powerful with each passing day, and it is essential for students to equip themselves with the necessary skills to remain relevant in the future. Responsible AI implementation is crucial, and it should be accompanied by regulations and self-governance to ensure ethical and fair usage, preventing any adverse consequences. Instead of viewing AI as a threat to job security, we should perceive it as a catalyst for innovation and the creation of new job opportunities. By embracing AI, we can pave the way for a new generation of jobs that leverage the strengths of both humans and machines.

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