Microsoft: Digitally Transforming India via AI Upskilling

Tech giant Microsoft has committed to teaching two million Indians about AI by 2025, including 75,000 women as part of a programme to advance women in tech

Microsoft plans to upskill 75,000 women in advanced skills like cloud computing and AI.

This movement is part of the company’s ‘Code Without Barriers’ programme that aims to facilitate equal advancement opportunities for people to succeed in the technology industry. Speaking at the Microsoft AI Tour in Bengaluru, company CEO Satya Nadella shared how AI is changing the way that developers are making products and how those across India are working towards ground-breaking solutions.

Microsoft will offer specialised training, certifications and support to women developers across India. Having partnered with Accenture and HCL Technologies, it aims to help women succeed in technology jobs, ensuring they are supported to advance their careers.

Supporting India’s digital transformation

The technology sector is still a very male-dominated field, with women only accounting for 26% of the workforce worldwide. Likewise, according to the World Economic Forum, only 22% of AI professionals are women.

As a result, businesses and organisations have been working towards greater gender diversity in the workplace with the goal of advancing global equalities. Deloitte states in its Women in AI report that having diversity across the AI sector will ensure that a wide range of perspectives and lived experiences are incorporated into the design and implementation of an AI system.

Microsoft’s pledge to support women advancing in AI business sectors is part of its wider commitment to teach two million about AI by 2025 to advance the technology sector across India. 

This news comes in the midst of India becoming one of the most impactful markets in the world, with its digital economy rapidly accelerating on account of AI and cloud technologies. In line with these increased demands, it is important that the country’s workforces are able to keep pace with the demands of new AI systems and capitalise on its digital growth.

A shift towards AI prosperity

Satya Nadella believes that the country’s strong market makes it well-positioned to benefit from the rapid expansion of AI technology, emphasising how the technology can drive further productivity and offer India a greater competitive advantage.

In an exclusive interview with moneycontrol, he highlights how AI is currently the driving force towards huge widespread business growth and a global shift in economic productivity across industries such as retail and healthcare.

“I’ve not seen a general purpose technology that can have that type of broad impact [before],” he says. “I am very optimistic that, with policy tools, we can manage the transition to AI in a net-positive way for even a country like India.

“India has a tremendous opportunity to use this new technology in a broad, sectoral way, both public and private. I want [Microsoft] to be the copilot for India as it takes advantage of AI.”

Ten years into his role as CEO at Microsoft, Nadella is only continuing to ensure that the company remains one of the largest in the world, with its value having swelled to more than US$3tn.

"This is only year two of AI," he says. "You must take the new tech, lean in completely and democratise it - and have innovation."

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