Speaking to Khaleej Times, Gurnani, who was in Dubai, said it is impossible to build protectionist walls in a digital era.
"In the digital economy, how do you build barriers? You can't just build walls like those being planned on the US-Mexico border," he said.
"In the long run, the reality is that America does not have enough engineering and technology graduates and if they choose to do it, I think we can help them in creating this manpower," said Gurnani who has led Tech Mahindra's transformation journey, and one of the biggest turnarounds of Indian corporate history - the acquisition and merger with Satyam.
He said India and the US would collaborate "to build a win-win solution for a more experienced, more blockchain-ready, more automation-ready, more artificial intelligence-ready, more digital world-ready smarter workforce. We both need each other because we have the intellectual capital and they have the capital flow there.
"It is in our interest, and I think it is in President Trump's interest, and also it is in the interest of the various governors," he said.
He argued that digital economy would flourish because of knowledge now being shared through the cloud.
"I look at opportunities. India went cashless for a brief period. Again the same currency has come back. Suddenly, the RBI was discussing blockchain, suddenly every bank was discussing it - because everybody wanted to embrace digital money. And the moment you embrace digital money, you want crypto currency, you want security, you want traceability, you want accountability," said Gurnani.
On Tech Mahindra's preparedness to ride the new wave of automation and driverless car technology, Gurnani sounded upbeat and confident.
"The way I am looking at it is that I am going actually one step further. That is why I went and bought a company called Pininfarina [the Italian automobile design and engineering firm] because that means there will be a car where I don't have to look at the road. So, does that mean that I can design a car as a living room? Can I design it like a pod? Can I design it in a way that I can use my driving time for video conference calls?"
Gurnani was optimistic that on Indian roads, driverless cars would be a reality in five years. "I think more like 2020-2022 - I think it is five years away - that's it."
Every time there is a level of automation, it opens up five other new opportunities, he added. "If we are not able to anticipate change, then we can become irrelevant like some global brands which are heard no more. And that is where as leaders, we have the biggest opportunity to recognise the change, measure up to the change, make the change happen and take some calls."
"Because when the change is happening, you don't know where the end result is. But if we don't take those calls, we are not leaders. And my desire is that all of us be the people who will ride the wave of automation, we will manage automation instead of automation managing us," said Gurnani.
In leading the automation drive, Tech Mahindra has set a goal that within 18 months, about 25 per cent of its workforce will be rejuvenated and rekindled. "They will reboot themselves because we will be looking at automation in a more aggressive way."
Overall, Gurnani said every industry is getting disrupted - healthcare, diagnostics, education, even the oil sector. "Who would have thought four years ago that oil would get disrupted. Today, people are talking that in 2025, there may not be a need for fossil fuels. I will not be flying after 2025, I promise you that because I refuse to fly in an aeroplane which will wait for sunlight," he said on a lighter note.
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