The coronavirus outbreak has fast-tracked the adoption of technology and the pandemic, which has taken a huge toll on human lives, is also a chance to build a more responsible and sustainable future as our very survival depends on it.
Technology will drive the change and its immense possibilities— in healthcare, sustainable aviation to clean energy—were discussed at a recent two-day GE New HorAIzons Summit, organised in collaboration with CNBC TV18 and Moneycontrol.
Industry leaders, trailblazers and innovators came together on October 6 and 7 to chart the road to a future enabled by artificial intelligence, machine learning, the internet of things, data analytics, and more.
"The Prime Minister, in his early days of taking charge, laid out the path for India's transformation. One of the pillars on that path was the technology-first model of governance," Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia said in his opening note, capturing the growing importance of technology for the industry.
Tech and healthcare
Technology has helped move healthcare from the confines of buildings to the remotest corners of the country with a click of a button. This shift was at play as coronavirus restricted the movement of people.
The iron triangle of healthcare— cost, quality and healthcare access— and how technology can make a difference was talked at length during a panel discussion on Day One.
Wipro GE Healthcare MD Dr Shravan Subramanyam said scaling and upskilling could change the direction of the iron triangle.
Technology has helped doctors to be adaptive to remote caregiving. In a fireside chat, GE Healthcare CDO and CTO Amit Phadnis said AI had made it possible to monitor ICU patients more efficiently, while tech innovation had made healthcare available to a much larger population.
AI had made precision medicine a reality, while wearable technology could be used to glean health insights for a better treatment. Solutions and possibilities were endless.
Sustainable aviation stirred a lively discussion, with Air Deccan founder GR Gopinath and Captain Amit Singh of Safety Matters focusing on reducing carbon emission.
A shift in mindset has to be accompanied by technological and production change in the industry to reduce its environmental burden.
Changing the climate, for better
As the Glasgow climate summit nears, a large part of Day Two of the GE Summit was dedicated to how technology could help India and the world embrace clean energy while cutting down emissions.
As part of the Paris agreement, India has pledged to do its share to check climate change. The country has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 33-35 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
This requires a relentless dedication to adopting technologies that aren't only clean but also smart. Lord Adair Turner of Energy Transitions and Ramesh Nair of Adani Solar examined the solutions and challenges the switch to green energy faced.
India's plan to get 40 percent of its energy from alternative sources by installing 450 GW of renewable capacity was hailed by the panel.
It identified the pace of investments in technology, cost of capital and land as well as legal roadblocks as some of the key challenges in meeting the goal.
India was doing well on the renewable energy front— rooftop solar, net metering and the Kusum scheme for solar energy in agriculture— but the policy regulatory framework should be drawn up to scale these technologies.
The panel was of the opinion that a good balance of demand and supply of alternative energy (green hydrogen specifically) needed to be created by the government by understanding industrial energy use.
Something old, something new
In a fireside chat, Dr Danielle Merfeld, VP and CTO, GE Renewable Energy, highlighted four core areas to cut carbon emissions—technology innovation to lower the costs of the energy ecosystem, the dispatching of renewable energy, making the power grid reliable and making this loop scalable and better over time.
The participants, including Sam Kimmins, Head of RE100 at The Climate Group, and Sankar Chakraborti, CEO, Acuite Ratings and Research Limited, envisaged public-private partnerships playing a key role in scaling technologies.
A change in mindset that would drive accountability and promote technological innovation, bettering the old tech and bringing in the new is how they mapped the way forward.
Complementary renewable sources of energy coming together for consistent access made for an insightful masterclass on GE Renewable Hybrids.
No discussion on technology can be complete without cybersecurity as the world gets more digitised. Alain Sanchez, Senior Evangelist at Fortinet, said cybercriminals were growing sophisticated with every technological breakthrough.
A lack of bug bounty programs, which encourage developers or others to report vulnerabilities by offering them compensation, was one of the challenges facing India. The cybersecurity sphere in the country also lacked deterrents, leading to an increase in the crime rate. For a country, where internet penetration is growing by the day, it needs to firewall itself from cybercriminals
Through lively discussions, the GE New HorAIzons summit opened up a whole new world, where technology innovation promises to improve lives, clean up the environment, offer solutions and build a better world for future generations.
Catch the highlights:
To view the sessions, click here
Moneycontrol journalists were not involved in the creation of the article