GenAI can catalyse growth and efficiency for MSMEs and startups

In the inaugural episode of the Tech Trailblazers series, we interact with Abhinav Chetan, founder of Digital for Nonprofits and Digicated, as he sheds light on his ventures and their mission to democratize digital access. Delve into his insights on the potential impact of Generative AI (GenAI) on India’s economy and how regulatory frameworks can shape its future. Gain valuable perspectives on GenAI’s implications for businesses, workforce dynamics, and its role as a game-changer for SMEs and startups. Discover the transformative potential of GenAI and its trajectory in shaping future innovations and collaborations.

Abhinav Chetan_TPCI

IBT: You are the founder of Digital for Nonprofits and Digicated. Please share more insights into these ventures and what inspired you to start them.

Abhinav Chetan: After 12 years at Google working with large brands in the UK, US, and India, I realised that digitization was able to create a deep impact for brands and was transformative. It was then that I founded Digital for Nonprofits and Digicated. Inspired by Google’s 20% projects – which allowed us, the employees, to work with different people in our spare time, that gave me a chance to engage with nonprofits, startups, and teaching. Digital for Nonprofits empowers organisations with technology grants, digital marketing, and generative AI. Digicated leverages years of expertise to accelerate digital marketing for startups and MSMEs.

Personally, through, I teach digital marketing and generative AI to institutions and individuals. Our vision is to democratise access to these tools, which has driven our mission for the past three years with no regrets. For us, the vision and mission, personally as well as for me, are to be able to leverage people and brands using digital marketing and generative AI. A lot of what I saw and learned is not very accessible or easy for these sorts of brands to access. So that’s what inspired us to create what we have right now.

IBT: As a GenAI expert, how do you perceive the potential contribution of GenAI to the Indian economy? And how is India placed to benefit vis-à-vis other major economies in this area?

Abhinav Chetan: As someone deeply engaged with generative AI, I prefer to see myself as an enthusiast rather than an expert. When considering India’s potential, I’m particularly passionate. Generative AI, a subset of AI, has recently gained prominence for its creative capabilities, unlike traditional AI, which focused on analysis and recognition. In India, with robust economic growth, a young demographic, and advanced digital infrastructure, the stage is set for significant innovation.

Generative AI could revolutionise sectors like finance, healthcare, education, and media, potentially adding trillions to the economy by the decade’s end. However, ensuring privacy, security, and regulatory frameworks will be crucial for sustainable growth. With the right support, GenAI could drive India into a century of prosperity.

IBT: In what ways do you think the current regulatory environment influences the development and adoption of GenAI in India? How can regulatory frameworks be structured to encourage technological advancements and also prevent their misuse?

Abhinav Chetan: Regulatory frameworks play an important role in shaping the development and adoption of GenAI in India. Countries worldwide are grappling with the balance between nurturing innovation and preventing misuse. For instance, the US adopts a self-regulatory approach, while the EU emphasises scrutiny and transparency. India lies between these two extremes, focusing on critical infrastructure development, free marketplaces for data exchange, and upskilling initiatives. Copyright infringement and ethical considerations are also key concerns. Learning from global experiences, India aims to strike a balance that encourages innovation while safeguarding against misuse. Collaborative efforts on a global scale are essential for shaping effective regulatory frameworks in this rapidly evolving field.

We’re also thinking of copyright infringement and watermarking AI-generated content. And there is also a lot of thought put into the ethical considerations of AI. So, in short, I think it’s going to be a balance where we foster innovation in general AI, but we also put guardrails in place so that it doesn’t get misused or it doesn’t create because it has potential. Overall, it will be interesting to see how these verdicts play out because countries will be keeping a close watch on what’s happening around the globe regarding AI to shape their own policies.

IBT: According to you, what challenges can GenAI possibly pose to businesses, and which sectors could witness the most negative impact over the short term?

Abhinav Chetan: The adoption of GenAI presents both opportunities and challenges for businesses. One significant challenge is the potential displacement of the workforce as repetitive tasks become automated. This necessitates a focus on upskilling employees to remain competitive. Additionally, businesses must navigate concerns around data security and privacy when utilising GenAI tools. Specific sectors such as IT services, customer care, and media and entertainment are likely to face short-term disruptions. For example, tasks like website development and customer support could be impacted by AI automation. However, companies have the opportunity to adapt and enhance efficiency through workforce upskilling and strategic adoption of GenAI technologies. While Generative AI may reshape workflows, individuals have the choice to embrace upskilling and leverage AI to their advantage to mitigate potential job impacts.

IBT: What are the potential implications of GenAI adoption on workforce dynamics across different industries, and how can organisations navigate this landscape to harness AI’s capabilities?

Abhinav Chetan: Personally, I don’t foresee massive layoffs or firings due to the adoption of GenAI. Instead, there’s immense potential for AI to enhance workforce productivity across various industries. In sectors like law and non-profits, where there’s a backlog of work, AI can serve as a force multiplier, enabling teams to accomplish more efficiently. The key lies in upskilling and leveraging AI tools to augment human capabilities, rather than replace them entirely. Embracing AI can empower individuals and organisations to remain competitive and future-ready in an evolving landscape.

IBT: In what ways is GenAI acting as a game-changer for small and medium-sized enterprises or startups? How should small businesses use GenAI to scale up and optimise the full potential of these technologies?

Abhinav Chetan: Generative AI offers significant advantages for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and startups, acting as a catalyst for growth and efficiency. These businesses often face resource constraints and require innovative solutions to thrive. By strategically integrating GenAI into their operations, they can unlock its full potential.

Firstly, SMEs and startups should explore specific use cases where GenAI can streamline processes and enhance productivity. For example, automating content creation for social media can save time and resources. Conducting small-scale pilots allows businesses to evaluate the effectiveness of GenAI in their workflows.

Secondly, focusing on customer operations and marketing presents opportunities for SMEs and startups to leverage GenAI. Personalised customer interactions and automated marketing campaigns can be achieved with AI-driven tools, enabling businesses to engage with their audience more effectively.

Lastly, SMEs and startups must prioritise ethical and security considerations when implementing GenAI. Transparency in AI-generated content and safeguarding sensitive data are essential to maintaining trust and integrity with customers.

Overall, by strategically integrating GenAI, optimising customer operations and marketing, and prioritising ethical and security standards, SMEs and startups can harness the transformative power of AI to scale up and thrive in today’s competitive landscape.

IBT: How do you envision the future of GenAI in the coming years?

Abhinav Chetan: The future of GenAI holds immense promise and potential for transformative advancements across various dimensions. From a hardware and software perspective, continual improvements in processing power and algorithms are driving progress. Moreover, GenAI is expanding beyond traditional devices and is poised to integrate seamlessly into various surfaces, including wearables and augmented reality/virtual reality environments.

Another significant development is the evolution towards multi-modal capabilities, enabling GenAI to process and create across different media types such as text, images, video, and audio. This versatility enhances its utility and applicability across diverse domains.

Furthermore, specialisation within generative AI is emerging, with the potential for highly specialised AI agents tailored for specific fields such as medical research, legal advice, or digital marketing. These specialised agents could facilitate expert-like interactions and insights within their respective domains.

Envisioning this trajectory, the future of generative AI could manifest in scenarios where AI seamlessly integrates into everyday experiences, offering real-time transcription, translation, and content generation across various formats. Augmented reality environments may facilitate dynamic interactions where conversations are recorded, transcribed, and broadcasted in real-time.

Overall, while the future of GenAI is accelerating, it presents exciting opportunities for innovation and collaboration. Embracing AI alongside careful consideration of its ethical and societal implications will be crucial to realising its full potential and shaping a future where humans and AI thrive together.

Abhinav Chetan is the founder & CEO of Digicated and Digital for NonProfits, a digital marketing and GenAI expert with 15 years of experience. He is mentoring other institutions to leverage GenAI.

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