He said that with advances in Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, this was going to change still further, as they take up the jobs, ranging from those in unskilled sweatshops to high-skilled professions like medicine.
“What jobs will humans be able to do in 10-15 years that are immune from threat? Jobs that require high intelligence and creativity; jobs that require human empathy and jobs where human working for us bolster our status in some way,” he said, delivering the keynote address outlining his vision for India at #FUTURE Global Digital Summit, organised by the Kerala government.
“We need to learn to respect universities as places where ideas are debated and you don’t shout down the other side and say that no no you don’t have the right to speak like this or you are anti-national,” he told reporters.
“We have to, as a society, create safe spaces where debates and discussions take place, where people using freedom, not licence, can express their views which can take the society forward,” Mr Rajan said.
“Any university will court controversy but the point is that controversy should be protected. Part of the point is to debate. Sometimes ideas that are unappealing come forward and are shot down.
“I think the process is good and over time these ideas become mainstream. For instance women’s rights is something that was debated in the 19th century which overtime we have come to accept,” he said.
In the Indian context, he said “we have a huge hunger for capabilities at every level. If we can create incomes at some level, the aspirations of people will ensure their children move up in life and get the opportunities that they did not.”
In terms of business opportunities, the government needs to do far more for start-ups to flourish in India by creating easy paths to incorporation and funding, he said.
Rajan said that one of the big lacunae in India was risk financing and so start-ups go elsewhere because they need risk financing, which was not available in the country.
“We have to make sure Indian capital is available because often it is closest to the ground and understands the financing better,” Rajan said.
“We have to make sure that the companies of our future are incorporated in India, get Indian financing and expand significantly. We cannot miss out on the AI and Robotics revolution,” he said.
He also said that India effectively needs a revolution in education and skill building.
“We need to remedy weaknesses in education at every stage, build more world-class institutions domestically and bring the talent back from abroad,” Rajan said.
“We are not as global as we should be even now. Too many of our people are too poorly educated or skilled to compete in a globalised tech-enabled economy,” Rajan noted.
“If we don’t do that we will end up with a two-tier economy of a few “haves” and a vast population of “have-nots”, which is neither socially stable nor desirable,” he said.
With Inputs from Agencies