- AI training will be provided to all 250,000 Wipro staff.
- The IT company pioneered software services in India.
- It could do the same with artificial intelligence.
Wipro, one of India’s top software services providers, says everyone on its staff should know how to use artificial intelligence.
As generative AI takes the world by storm, Wipro – which specializes in IT and consulting services, and is one of India’s biggest outsourcing firms – won’t be left behind. And nor will its employees, according to a new announcement.
On Wednesday, the IT giant made the announcement that over the next three years it will invest $1billion on improving its artificial intelligence capabilities. This will include training its entire staff – no easy feat for a company that employs 250,000 people across 66 countries.
Training staff in the fundamentals
Wipro plans to run workshops on “AI fundamentals and responsible use of AI over the course of the next 12 months, and will continue to provide more customized, ongoing training for employees in AI-specialized roles.”
Furthermore, the company said it will launch an interconnected software system to integrate AI into every platform and tool, both those used internally and those offered to clients.
Having started making efforts in the space roughly a decade ago, Wipro will be now be able to capitalize on those efforts, having done the groundwork which many companies are having to start from scratch in 2023.
Wipro’s announcement comes as businesses increasingly turn to AI to bolster or replace tasks usually performed by humans.
The CEO of an Indian startup made headlines this week after letting go of 90% of his support staff. Supposedly, the company had built an AI-powered chatbot that could process customer service requests faster than flesh-and-blood employees.
Given the company’s track record and leadership, it seems very unlikely that Wipro will follow suit. CEO Thierry Delaporte co-founded Life Project 4 Youth, a not-for-profit organization that helps young adults living in extreme poverty to integrate socially and professionally.
Summit Shah, founder and CEO of Dukaan tweeted that “Given the state of [the] economy, startups are prioritizing ‘profitability’ over striving to become ‘unicorns,’ and so are we.” Unicorns are privately held startups valued at $1 billion or more.
Perhaps Wipro doesn’t fall under the same umbrella as Shah’s company. Perhaps Azim Premji, Founder Chairman of Wipro and informally the Czar of the Indian IT industry, is prioritizing something other than profit.
Were the market less saturated by billionaires whose accolades make for depressing reading, it would feel less necessary and less salient to run through some of Premji’s philanthropic ventures.
Being rich “did not thrill” Premji, who was the first Indian entrepreneur to sign up to Bill Gates’ Giving Pledge. After donating 39% of his Wipro wealth, he committed to donate even more.
“Driven by my own instinctive understanding and beliefs and influenced by many ideals of trusteeship, I have irrevocably donated about 39% of the wealth of Wipro to the Azim Premji foundation. I would like to donate much more to this foundation and I will do that in the course of the rest of my life,” he told the Indian Express.
AI training for all helps retain jobs
By training Wipro staff in AI, the company will empower them to deliver on the forefront of the emerging technology and remain relevant in a job market that fearmongers say will soon be dominated by robotics.
The move might be evidence of the eye for business that earned Premji his billions in the first place. After inheriting his father’s cooking oil manufacturing company, he diversified the company – although still operating within the realm of fats.
When IBM was expelled from India, he recognized the importance of the emerging IT field and took advantage of the vacuum that the giant left behind. It’s easy to see how something similar could play out with generative AI.
Investment in what the company is calling Wipro ai360 is set to unleash a new era of value, productivity, and commercial opportunities through the application of AI and generative AI.
By training all 250,000 of its staff on AI fundamentals and responsible use of AI, those employees will be educated about the technology, rather than replaced by it.
29 February 2024
29 February 2024