PM Modi and Bill Gates discuss AI, climate change, millets and more

PM Modi and Bill Gates discuss AI, climate change, millets and more
Bill Gates and Prime Minister Narendra ModiANI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, discussed a wide range of subjects including artificial intelligence (AI) to millets, in a special conversation at the Prime Minister's residence on Friday.

Gates praised India's technological advancements in Digital public infrastructure (DPI) and its transformative impact across various sectors, while the PM spoke of his vision for leveraging technology.

Technology and healthcare

"India is not only adopting technology but actually dealing the way- what are the technological advancements you are most excited about?" Gates asked.

PM Modi emphasised the importance of digital platforms in democratising access to quality healthcare, ensuring that even remote areas receive the same level of medical services as urban centres.


"I have built two lakh Aarogya Mandir, Aayushman Aarogya Mandir, in villages. I directly connect my health centre with the best hospital with modern technology. In the beginning, they thought I don't have a doctor. How can he treat me without seeing me? But later they understood the technology that a doctor sitting hundreds of kilometres away is giving him the right diagnosis and advice. So people's confidence has increased. This is the wonder of the digital platform," PM Modi said.

Artificial intelligence

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said that he used AI during the G20 Summit hosted by India last year and also uses it for some other tasks. He highlighted the role and benefits of technology and AI while also emphasising the need for regulations.

"We had extensive discussions before the G20 Summit, and as you might have seen, the Summit's proceedings took a lot of turns. I believe we have now aligned with G20s core purposes and objectives, bringing them to the mainstream. I hope your first-hand experience echoes this sentiment," he said.

"Recently, I went to the Kashi Tamil Sangamam event. As I can't speak Tamil, I delivered my speech in Hindi, which was translated into Tamil in real-time using AI, allowing attendees from Tamil Nadu to understand me clearly," he added.

"AI is very important. Sometimes, I jokingly say that in our country, we call our mother 'Aai'. Now I say that when a child is born, he says 'Aai' as well as AI as children have become so advanced," he said.

"I am using my NaMo app, and I use AI extensively, which proves immensely beneficial across the country. Here is my photo booth, take a selfie. You can see, every photo of you and me, from the last 20 years is available here. even if you're barely visible in a public event photo, as long as I am in it, and even if your one tenth part is visible, it recognises and retrieves it. This illustrates the day-to-day applications of technology and I believe such innovations add significant value," he said.

AI has been one of the focus areas of the government. The Cabinet had recently approved the comprehensive national-level IndiaAI mission with a budget outlay of Rs. 10,371.92 crore. The IndiaAI mission will establish a comprehensive ecosystem catalysing AI innovation through strategic programs and partnerships across the public and private sectors.

PM Modi noted that there is a significant risk of misuse of a powerful technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI), especially when placed in unskilled hands, and suggested that AI-generated content should carry clear watermarks to prevent misinformation.

"In the case of deepfakes, it is crucial to acknowledge and present that a particular deepfake content is AI-generated along with the mention of its source. These measures are really important, especially in the beginning," he asserted.

Millets on the menu

During the conversation, the PM called for an improvement in vegetarian diets as it includes several harmful choices and asked people to switch to millets.

"I believe even vegetarian diets need improvement. For example, millets. I celebrated 2023 as the Millet Year with UN. Millets have great benefits as they grow on barren land, need minimal water and do not require any fertilizer. It is a superfood. Even within vegetarian options, some choices are more harmful and switching to millet could bring significant benefits," the PM said.

Gates responded to the PM telling him how he was apprised of the fact that millets were a very popular diet in Odisha long back.

"When I went to Odisha, I came to know that millet was very popular food there a long time ago and now it is coming back in the market in with the joint efforts of the government. They even took me to the shops where they offered me very nutritious foods and they tasted good to me," Bill Gates added.

Fight against cervical cancer

The PM said that if voted to power again, his new government will allocate funds to scientists for local research in cervical cancer as it wants to vaccinate all girls.

"In the coming days, I want to talk about cervical cancer, especially for our daughters. I want to give a budget to our scientists in India. And I want to tell them to do local research on this as well and make a vaccine. And with very little money, I want to vaccinate all the daughters in my country. I am working in that direction these days. When my new government is formed, it will allocate funds to scientists for local research in cervical cancer because we want to vaccinate all girls," Modi told Gates.

India reported over 14.13 lakh new cancer cases and 9.16 lakh deaths in 2022, according to the latest estimates released by the World Health Organisation's (WHO) cancer agency, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

With inputs from ANI and PTI.