Healthcare: Indian Americans on TIME100 AI list are working for social good

The inaugural TIME100 AI list by TIME Magazine of 100 leaders featuring policymakers, artists, and entrepreneurs across various fields and from countries around the world in artificial intelligence has several Indian Americans with most of them working towards philanthropic goals in India and around the world. Well known entrepreneur and philanthropist brothers – Sunil Wadhwani and Dr Romesh Wadhwani – have been recognised as leaders in spearheading transformational AI innovation in business and healthcare to positively impact lives around the world through Wadhwani AI, a non-profit institute which they teamed up to form in 2018. They have so far committed $60 million to the project. The Wadhwani Institute of Artificial Intelligence, co-founded by the brothers is dedicated to creating and deploying AI solutions that benefit underserved populations in developing countries. “Being named to TIME’s inaugural list of AI leaders is a profound honour, and we are humbled to stand alongside some of the brightest minds in the AI ecosystem,” Sunil Wadhwani, who is co-founder of Mastech Digital, a leading provider of digital transformation IT services, and through his family foundation and non-profit social organisation, the WISH Foundation, has pioneered the development of an innovation-driven approach to transforming primary health systems in low-income communities, said in a press release after the release of the TIME list.

Dr Romesh Wadhwani

“Our commitment is to leveraging AI to improve healthcare, education, and family incomes for the bottom three billion people of the world. While the US and China currently lead the world in developing commercial applications of AI, India can be the global leader in applying AI for social good, thanks to having the largest digital workforce in the world, a proven track record of massively scaling digital innovations, and national leadership that believes in the power of AI and digital technologies to accelerate social development. AI solutions developed and scaled in India can be leveraged throughout the world, and particularly in the Global South,” Wadhwani said. Romesh Wadhwani is a billionaire entrepreneur and the founder and chairman of SAIGroup, a fast-growing operating group of leading AI companies that deliver a new generation of advanced AI solutions to transform the enterprise. He was also the founder and CEO of Symphony Technology, a private equity firm building software and technology-enabled services companies, and Aspect Development, a business-to-business software company, sold for $9.3 billion in 2000.
Manu Chopra, who is also on the TIME100 AI 2023 list, is founder and CEO of Karya and lecturer at Stanford University. Karya is described as the world’s first data cooperative to bring dignified, digital work to economically disadvantaged Indians, giving them a pathway out of poverty. The company is collecting datasets of Indian languages that have so far been sidelined from the AI boom. “Technology is an excellent amplifier of existing human intent and capacity. Through my travels across rural India, I have met countless hardworking, talented and skilled people. I am currently focused on helping these people defeat extreme poverty by giving them access to dignified digital work . Over the last 1.5 years, my work has moved 10,000 rural Indians out of extreme poverty,” Chopra says on his website. He graduated in 2017, with a degree in computer science from Stanford University where he co-founded CS+Social Good, Stanford’s first student group focused on the intersection of tech and impact. He is now a lecturer at Stanford and has taught and advised over half a dozen classes on tech for good in the university’s CS department. “At Karya, we believe that it is every individual’s right to take ownership of their financial future and sustainability through fairly-compensated work. We currently facilitate this through engaging workers in tasks related to speech dataset generation and image annotation; with a plan to expand to higher-skilled, lucrative tasks. With our user-friendly application and work-from-anywhere model, anyone who owns a smartphone can be a Karya worker,” Chopra says.
Tushita Gupta, co-founder & CTO at Refiberd, is also on the TIME100 AI list. Gupta’s innovative work at Refiberd is in successfully recycling textiles which would usually have been thrown out and gone into landfill or incinerated. The California-based company was founded by Sarika Bajaj and Gupta in 2020. Their goal is to provide the most accurate summary of what types of materials are in any given textile item. Once the materials are recycled, they can be remade into fabric for new textiles—cutting waste and encouraging circularity in the fashion industry.


Tushita Gupta

Gupta, who has a wealth of work experience, attended Carnegie Mellon University and earned a bachelor of science in electrical and computer engineering with a double major in biomedical engineering. She graduated with a master of science in electrical and computer engineering from the same university in 2018.


Neal Khosla

Neal Khosla, CEO and co-Founder, Curai; has also been featured on the TIME100 AI list; for his AI-assisted telehealth startup. “People have really struggled in this country to even imagine what an abundance of access to medical care could and should look like,” says machine-learning researcher Khosla, who is the son of well-known Indian American venture capitalist and entrepreneur Vinod Khosla. Eighteen-year-old Sneha Revanur from California is the youngest individual recognised on the list as the founder of Encode Justice, a youth-led, AI-focused civil-society group.
Sarah Chander, a senior policy adviser at Brussels-based European Digital Rights (EDRi), a network comprising over 50 NGOs and experts on digital rights and freedoms, has also been featured on the TIME AI list. Chander, who advises the EU on improving policy and legislation relating to AI, privacy, and surveillance, is of Punjabi origin. Other Indian Americans on the list are Pushmeet Kohli, vice president of research, Google DeepMind; Arvind Narayanan and Sayash Kapoor, professor and doctoral candidate, Princeton University.

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