AIMA’s 5th US – India Conference

Prakash Narayan-

All India Management Association (AIMA) and the Haas School of Business of University of California Berkeley collaborated to bring the 5th US – India Conference at Spieker Forum, UC Berkeley Campus past month.

The conference was focused on defining a new paradigm in a changing world. Due to radical political, economic and technological transformations, India and US need each other more than ever and should work out mechanisms to coordinate their agenda and actions to ensure mutual prosperity. All the sessions kept a focus on this general theme and explored these opportunities from different perspectives.

Solomon Darwin, Director of the Garwood enter for Corporate Innovation at the Haas School of Business, set the stage with his opening remarks. Rekha Sethi, Director General of AIMA, gave the introductory remarks where she said that the US can be a stakeholder in India’s transformation. Shrinivas Dempo, President of AIMA gave the Welcome Address. India is the 5th largest economy in the world, he said. It is expected to grow at 6% for the next decade. This presents a huge opportunity to the US.

Richard Lyons, Chief Innovation and Entrepreneurship Officer, UC Berkeley, gave the opening keynote. He talked about the three E’s that they are focused on – Equipment, Equity and Enterprise at the BEAR Lab – BErkeley Artificial intelligence Research Lab. Their goal is to have a platform for advancing innovation with repeatable, scalable outcomes. For Equipment, the intent is to open the boundary of Berkeley. For Equity, there are Venture Capital firms associated with Berkeley (10% of the Equity gets back to Berkeley).

Dr. Nagendra Prasad, Consul General of India, San Francisco, gave the Inaugural Address. He talked about the factors that are in India’s favor: Young country (with a median age of 25); Huge domestic market (that is aspirational); Strong Leadership. He spoke of the groups led by India that increase the impact of India – such as I2U2 (India, Israel, UAE and US) and Quad (India, Australia, Japan and US). India is US’s 9th largest trade partner.

Keith Strier, Vice President, Worldwide AI Initiatives and Global Head of Public Sector, NVIDIA delivered a Plenary session on How Supercomputers, AI and Simulation enable Planetary scale Resilience. AI has the ability to emulate human-like cognitive function. Of the 192 countries in the world, only 31 have the human and computer infrastructure to perform AI tasks. Thus, AI reshapes economics and geopolitics.

AI makes million-x leaps in science possible. What would normally take 12 months is reduced to 12-hours. He spoke of the ability to master skills at scale – since machines learn at “machine time”. Next, he spoke of the Metaverse. It provides the ability to simulate the world at scale. An example of this is weather prediction. Numerical weather models are accurate to 6 days. With AI, this can be improved to providing accurate weather models for 3 to 4 weeks. This is also 45,000x faster than numerical models. He talked about the six rules of the Metaverse: It is a concept, not a place; it is a Network of Networks; there are many portals into the Metaverse; virtual worlds are essential to the next era of AI; virtual worlds need a specialized architecture; digital twins occur at every scale. Specifically, he mentioned how BMW is building digital twins for all their 33 factories. This enables them to play out scenarios in the digital twin. Thus, we have the ability to simulate the world at scale.

A panel discussion on “The Moral Imperative: ESG and Business Resilience” ensued. The panel was moderated by Jennifer Bussell, Institute for South Asia Studies, UC Berkeley. Panelists included George Jacob, CEO, Bay Area Ecotarium; R Mukundan, CEO, Tata Chemicals; Navneet Chugh, Managing Partner, Chugh LLP; Shiv Siddhant Kaul, MD, NICCO Engineering Services; Prith Banerjee, CTO, Ansys. The focus of the discussion was a growing morality to organizational practices with respect to being environmentally conscious and be selective in energy, materials, technologies and supply chains. Some of the observations made were that 84% of the electricity generated today is from fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas). In fact, the total production has increased in the last 10 years. We need to reverse this trend and generate electricity from renewable sources (wind, solar, geothermal, biomass). Prith talked about how Ansys is enabling the simulation of systems for sustainability. This enables us to ensure that resources are used efficiently, reduce product footprints and save costs.

The final panel discussion for the day was on, “Beyond Disruption: Metaverses of Innovation”. The panel was moderated by Thomas Yee, Haas School of Business. Panelists included Anita Manwani, President-elect TiE Silicon Valley; Nitin Narkhede, GM Emerging Technology, Wipro Technologies; Pallab Deb, MD ISV Application Partnerships, Google Cloud; Salman Taj, Head of Ericsson ONE; Shardul Vikram, Head of Intelligence and Incubation, SAP. We have seen digital technologies disrupting “legacy” industries and business models. It is now the turn for the digital world to get disrupted. It is now possible to create and operate virtual worlds – thanks to an explosion in the speed and scale of computing and communication. This new metaverse universe presents new opportunities for businesses. Enterprises need to gear up quickly and adequately for this disruption.

Overall, it was a day of engaging conversations and insightful observations to help push the needle of the US-India partnership forward. The organizers should be commended for bringing a diverse group of leaders to talk about issues that are pressing and relevant in this ever-changing world.

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