The Outliers 2: Chetan Dube on Indian IT’s imminent brush with death

Pankaj Mishra January 18, 2017 1 min

Will India’s $100 billion-plus software outsourcing industry, which employs nearly 4 million people, die a slow death?

This is the question being asked by some of the world’s top experts. While Indian IT may not be on its deathbed yet, the threat of disruption is looming large and clear. And if an imminent death sounds like an exaggeration, a “near-death experience” cannot be ruled out.

I’ve been tracking robotics and automation company IPSoft for nearly a decade. The founder, Chetan Dube, has been questioning the “cheap labour-based” positioning of the Indian IT industry for a long time. He’s been tirelessly pointing at the coming revolution led by software robots and humanoids, which will take over the commoditised, repetitive tasks performed by engineers employed in the sector.

You can read this Livemint article “Meeting Eliza” that I wrote in January 2013, to understand what IPSoft does, and how.

In this episode of Outliers, Dube and I discuss the future of the Indian IT industry and how companies employing hundreds of thousands of engineers can “change their engines while still in flight.”

During the conversation, Dube makes a really passionate pitch urging Indian IT giants to help change the country’s “back office of the world” positioning. “Indian intellect is capable of far superior pursuits,” he says.

In last weeks episode Manish Sharma of Printo spoke about starting up and his journey so far.

To listen to the previous episodes and subscribe to our podcast on SoundCloud click here. iTunes users can also click here to subscribe.


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