For making emerging technologies beneficial in India, it needs to be assured that they reach people at the bottom of the pyramid, business and political leaders said on Friday at the Davos Agenda Summit.
During a panel discussion on 'Harnessing emerging technologies in India' on the last day of the week-long online summit of the World Economic Forum, Telangana IT Minister K T Rama Rao said any technology that does not have a positive societal impact is going to be futile.
"We need to take a closer look at technologies that have redefined the world. We need to consider how it positively impacts the common man," Rao said.
The AI has the potential to help with agriculture, he added.
During the same session, UPL Ltd Global CEO Jai Shroff said small farmers face constant disruptions and challenges and the technology indeed has the potential to help them.
"We need to help them become more resilient to overcome the challenges that many urban dwellers take for granted," said Shroff, whose company is a leading manufacturer of agrochemicals and crop protection solutions.
Sequoia Capital India LLP Managing Director Rajan Anandan said it was "a tale of two halves" in 2020.
"The first half saw significant hurdles, but in the second half of last year, a number of sectors with digitally-led startups were actually ahead of where they were in February. We had more unicorns -- new billion-dollar startups -- in 2020 than in 2019," he said.
Meagan Fallone, Director on the Board of Barefoot College, a voluntary organisation connecting rural communities, said the pandemic has crystallised the need to see technology as a tool to create justice and inclusion and in building citizenship.
"Opening up our mindset about who we should include in the design of technology has great potential for increased efficiency and cost-savings. From government to the private sector and social entrepreneurs, it requires multiple stakeholders to make this change," she added.
The panelists discussed what role will emerging technologies play when the Indian economy is expected to regain ground as the world's fastest-growing economy in 2021, when the IMF expects a growth rate of 8.8 per cent after a contraction of 10.3 per cent in 2020.