Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani delivered the keynote address at the Republic Summit on Wednesday, speaking about 'opportunities for a billion', at the dawn of the 4th industrial revolution.
Starting off, in reference to the name of the event Mukesh Ambani spoke about how digital technology had empowered people like nothing before in human history:
"The name Republic has a profound meaning. It means the praja (people) are the new raja (king). Digital technology has empowered the praja like nothing before in human history.
He went on to speak about digital media vis-a-vis traditional mass media: "Before digital, so-called mass media was for a passive audience. Social media's very name connotes that it belongs to society as a whole. I believe digital is the greatest friend to democracy."
"Media in the digital age is of the people, for the people and by the people like nothing before."
Continuing on the event's theme, i.e. Surging India, the RIL Chairman said:
"The theme of Surging India is as timely as it is appropriate. India is surging ahead on the back of technology. In less than 24 months India has gone from 155th in the world to 1st in terms of mobile data consumption. Impact of this can be seen in all digital domains. In the next 2 decades, India will be leading the world and contributing the next level of global growth."
He put this into the context of the 4th Industrial Revolution:
"Earlier, the world had witnessed 3 industrial revolutions. The first was powered by coal and steam. The second, by electricity and oil, and the third by electronics and information technology. India only started playing catch-up in the third. The fourth industrial revolution is marked by a fusion of the technological physical and biological worlds. This is powered by data and will be defined by humanism"
He then put forth three reasons why India will lead the 4th Industrial Revolution:
- India today is different from India of yesteryears. It's a young nation. 63% of 1.3 billion are below 35. As a result, our nation is more vibrant than ever before.
- India is a democracy and is run on the model of inclusive growth and on empathy. India is openly embracing digital technology of tomorrow. Each of 1.3 billion can actively participate in the 4th industrial revolution and solve problems.
- India is a rich and fertile ground for entrepreneurship. It has emerged as the fastest-growing startup base worldwide. Never before has India witnessed such an explosion of entrepreneurial spread.
Consequently, he addressed the five areas that India needs to focus on:
- India needs to prepare for the age of digital abundance. Indians will have access to all data on the cloud. Jio is geared towards connecting everything. India today is digitally united. Digital platforms make it possible for consumers to be entrepreneurs at the same time. Imagine 1.3 billion having access to all computational power at all times at low rates. Early adopters will have the opportunity to create value.
- We have to adapt ourselves to the scorching pace of innovation and learn to collaborate at scale. It's the convergence of 2-3-4 of these technologies that is transforming existing ways of working. Collaboration will become both a necessity and a requirement for success. One will have to master the art of collaboration to transform an idea into a breakthrough innovation.
- Education: Have to shift from time-bound education to continuous learning. Have to groom children towards critical thinking, collaboration, communication
- To ensure that new and disruptive technologies create more employment opportunities than they take away. I have no doubt that they will. However, there is a lot of apprehension. These very apprehensions could resist or delay digital transformation of our society and that would be a mistake.
- In data ownership: In this world, data is the new oil and data is the new wealth. India's data must be owned by the people and especially not by global corporations. Data colonisation is as bad as the older colonisation and digital freedom is as important as the freedom we won.
He then chose to focus on three areas specifically, Agriculture, Education and Healthcare:
- Agriculture: We can't ignore the reality of underdevelopment of rural India. Today, our average farm yields are only 30-40% of global yields. This can be increased by water management and other techniques. There's a scope for a 'digital green revolution', to usher in an 'evergreen revolution'.
- Education: India's youth is our biggest asset. But we need digital tools to break economic, language and regional barriers. Jio will play a leading role in this connectivity. Students will have access; AI-based assistants will deliver curriculum tailored to each student.
- Healthcare is a basic human right for each Indian. It's a national responsibility and national necessity. With digital tech, this has become possible even in remote areas. As in education, best the doctors can become accessible to all citizens everywhere.
Coming back to the fourth industrial revolution, he quoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying, "India's contribution towards the 4th Industrial Revolution will leave the world stunned". He declared, "This will be prophetic."
"I can predict that from now on, every new generation of Indians will live a better and more fulfilling life than those before. India must embrace it. As a nation we must rise to this. The goal can't be achieved by any one person or one enterprise or by any one Indian. All 1.3 billion Indians will have to work together, to realise this in the shortest possible time. Let's work together to make surging India a reality."