Data and its applications such as artificial intelligence (AI) have the potential to reshape modern economy and society. In India, data and AI systems have started playing a role in decisions that impact our lives. Increasingly complex and intelligent AI systems are being deployed in financial services, education, healthcare, and employment. They are improving customer experience, enhancing access to services, and driving business productivity. However, data misuse and breaches can erode trust in businesses. Poorly-designed AI systems can lead to discrimination against vulnerable groups. Violations of privacy and uninhibited data collection can disempower individuals.
We at Omidyar Network India are looking for startups that enable inclusion and empowerment through digitization and those promoting responsible use of data. Individuals should exercise control over data and businesses must put technologies that focus on individual empowerment and choice front and centre. This provides them greater control over their lives and creates value for businesses through lower liabilities and higher consumer trust. Internationally, we have invested in decentralised data storage (Digi.me) and user-controlled ID credentials (Learning Machine).
As consumer trust becomes a key competitive differentiator, there is a huge opportunity to rethink the way businesses use data or design and build AI-technologies. Therefore, we aim to invest in startups that make data processing more privacy-preserving through technologies such as anonymisation, encryption, secure storage and enable ethical AI technologies based on the principles of fairness, accountability and transparency.
Such technologies will help India harness the full power of data for inclusion, while protecting against risks such as discrimination, privacy violations, surveillance, and financial fraud.
Apoorva Goyal is Associate, Investments, Omidyar Network India and Subhashish Bhadra, is Principal, Omidyar Network India
Reverse Pitch is like a normal investors pitch but the roles are reversed. That means the startup doesn’t present its business to investors, but investors and companies pitch their business concepts, challenges and the like to startups.