How Indian-American CEOs are determining the Future of AI

They are spearheading the technology industry’s AI business strategies through their efforts in their respective firms

Dedee Droege

As CEOs and political leaders around the world race to become the most influential voices in the AI space, there’s no doubt that Indian innovators are already coming out on top.

In addition to the many AI developers of Indian descent propelling the technology forward, India’s AI domination is playing out on two crucial fronts: business development and international policy.

When it comes to policy efforts, India successfully secured the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence’s (GPAI) chair-in-waiting position in 2022 – a role that might very well determine how international legislation handles the spread of AI.

Perhaps even more influential, however, are the Indian-American CEOs spearheading the technology industry’s AI business strategies. With both the CEO of IBM Arvind Krishna and the CEO of Microsoft of Satya Nadella of proud Indian descent, it’s clear that Indian innovators will decide what impact AI will have on daily life around the world.

Here’s what we know about Arvind Krishna and Satya Nadella’s approaches to AI:

How Arvind Krishna is steering IBM's AI strategy

IBM’s executive leadership team has wasted no time strategizing around AI’s serious earnings potential. In fact, IBM has been investing heavily in various forms of AI technology since 2012, making the company one of the earliest and biggest corporate interests in the emerging tool.

These efforts ramped up in 2019 when the company acquired open-source software veteran Red Hat for a staggering $34 billion. After spearheading this deal, Arvind Krishna was tapped to take over as IBM’s CEO just one year later.

In a talk with Wall Street analysts last month, he outlined once again why IBM believes the investment could turn into a $1 trillion opportunity:

“Our focus is on enterprise AI, designed to address these opportunities and solve business problems. The list of use cases is long and includes IT operations, code generation, improved automation, customer service, augmenting HR, predictive maintenance, financial forecasting, fraud detection, compliance monitoring, security, sales, risk management, and supply chain, among others.”

Will Krishna’s vision come to fruition? If IBM finds a way to make AI a no-brainer for customers, his big swing might just pay off.

What Satya Nadella has in store For AI at Microsoft

When AI moved from niche industry talk to the mainstream media conversation in Spring of this year, it wasn’t a mere coincidence that Microsoft invested $10 billion in OpenAI – creator of ChatGPT – just months earlier in January 2023.

Under the leadership of Hyderabad-born Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s strategic investment in the most popular AI service to date was only the beginning. In February, Nadella integrated OpenAI’s large language learning model into Bing, and in March, he announced the release of Copilot, an AI-powered tool that speeds up coding.

This timely investment was rewarded last month when Microsoft received a $1 billion stock price boost. And with OpenAI expected to remain the most approachable AI tool for the mainstream public, Nadella is well-positioned to maintain this competitive edge.

Though this is only the beginning of AI’s global adaptation, India’s many business and technology innovators are already determining how the tool’s future will unfold.

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