Development of Robotics and AI in South Asia: Opportunities for Collaboration

I was a panelist of the webinar held to celebrate the 9th National Science Day by Ministry of Education, Science and Technology[MOEST] of Nepal Government. Robotics Association of Nepal[RAN] , Good City Foundation[GCF] and The Policy Times organised the event.

The goal of the webinar was to share South Asian perspective as part of efforts to facilitate discussion on how science, technology and innovation could contribute to manage COVID19, explore the potential of Robotics and AI for the emerging economies like Nepal, what programs and plans can help Nepal fulfil its true potential.

While goals are audacious, when panelists sit down and talk about technology, common themes of challenges in South Asia emerge. It is hard to step back from challenges and focus on things that can actually work, things that could actually inspire communities.

Panelists came from different back grounds: Entrepreneurs like me, University lecturers and innovators. They were from India, Singapore, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka (me).

I focused on what I do at aucterra, explaining why we had to go from a custom service provider to building a AI service platform. AI is now a cliched term used randomly and thrown around with ignorance. The effect of this is rampant misunderstanding at all levels of society.

I explained how I navigated this. [ check from 47:29] and also at the end the Q & A session [ check from 2:15:30]

What I like most about these sessions is what happens afterwards: collaborations between countries to learn from each other and act on something .

I am in touch with RAN, to do exactly that.

I read this World Bank report on Nepal after the session.

“The pandemic provides the opportunity for countries to craft a recovery path that draws lessons from the crisis,” – Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

The adoption of digital technologies makes services more tradable, enables services to increase productivity of other sectors—including manufacturing—and creates new markets. Some South Asian countries are increasingly providing business and professional services that add value to manufacturing and play a key role in global value chains. 

As the report further iterates , Nepal needs to embrace digital future, just like their peers in South Asia. But the road is not simple and clear for South Asia. That is why conversations and collaborations are important.

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