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GOVERNING ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN INDIA

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

THE AI REVOLUTION


The world now, in the 21st century is one which is technology-centric and technology-driven, with the platform set for a more advanced technology revolution. Advancement of Artificial Intelligence or AI has become the ultimate key to becoming a global superpower with semiconductors as the new oil in international affairs.


An illustration on India's Artificial Intelligence Policy framing

Illustration by Team Geostrata


India is entirely cognizant of the significance and power that the development and deployment of AI encompasses. From driving cars and completing household chores to introducing quantum leaps in the fields of medicine, engineering and even diplomacy, Artificial Intelligence appears to be the solution to revolutionizing economies and societies.


Computer Scientist Amir Husain proceeds to describe it as “the enabler of everything we do”.

India's national strategy for harnessing the strengths of AI is going to be crucial in its path to becoming a superpower in a world that is going to be majorly operated by AI technologies. It has commenced on its journey of transforming into a global hub for AI and has been at the forefront of AI-related research and innovation with an impressive level of AI adoption by Indian companies.


The Indian Government’s Digital India initiative that strives to transform the country digitally has meant that AI adoption and development is on India’s high priority list.


The predicament however is that Artificial intelligence is a Pandora’s box that can trigger problems like dwindling of ethics as a result of, inter alia, mass surveillance, data leakage and monitoring and replication of social biases, if not utilised responsibly.


The creation of AI- powered lethal weapons, loss of human influence and prowess in the real world, and eventually the much-dreaded domination of Artificial Superintelligence over humans remain some of the horrifying potentialities of blindly advancing on Artificial Intelligence.


AI needs to be responsibly executed in order to gain maximum utility without jeopardizing the constitutional rights of citizens, especially that of data protection and privacy- a critical aspect of the fundamental right to privacy.


Eradicating these risks and dangers that might emerge with the promotion of AI is imperative in order to align and restrict it to its sole purpose of making the lives of citizens more efficient and convenient along with embracing social empowerment and inclusion.


ROAD TO A RESPONSIBLE AND LEGITIMATE AI SUPERPOWER


In accordance with the abovementioned agenda of mitigating potential risks, addressing problems of ethics, privacy, security, and algorithmic biases is vital in developing a vibrant and secured Indian AI ecosystem.


Niti Ayog, the government think tank formulated a national AI strategy called ‘AI for all’ where it underscored healthcare, agriculture, education, smart cities, and smart mobility as the five broad sectors that AI could must substantially revolutionize and uplift.


The strategy champions the implementation of AI for economic growth and societal development and inclusive growth. Additionally, it stresses on the need for a consortium of ethical councils in AI research and development centers to address ethical and security issues- a basic step towards addressing the issue under discussion.


Moreover, a report by the Union Ministry of Commerce suggested in 2018, that a nodal agency be set up to monitor, coordinate, and hence facilitate the growth of AI systems in India. The report’s emphasis on AI growth was extensive in comparison to its focus on addressing and finding solutions to the nearly inevitable dangers of AI, thereby appropriately displaying India’s, and to an extent, the world’s spirit of dealing with AI.


Nevertheless, a Digital Personal Data Protection Bill was passed by the Indian Government in 2022.

It renders citizens with the right to access basic information and to have legal authority over their personal data. The bill is reinforced by a Data Protection Board that ensures the unhindered implementation and functioning of the provisions.


However, the bill mandates the government to access personal data if it is strictly necessary, paving the way for possible surveillance and discriminative threats. Furthermore, Niti Ayog in 2020, had released the Data Empowerment and Protection Architecture (DEPA) that strived to secure data usage and sharing throughout the country.


DEPA offers a medium of controlling personal data, thereby digitally empowering individuals. However, the dangers of the future are unknown. Advancements in the field of AI are going to exacerbate the risks.


It is thus pivotal to be cautious. In resonance with that mindset, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology ( MeitY), established various committees in 2019, to research on major techniques of leveraging AI in India while simultaneously focusing on cyber security, and legal and ethical issues. India, so far has been advantageously deploying AI including integrating linguistic diversity through translations and making administration more efficient through Face Recognition Technologies.


However, even well-intentioned machine learning systems are susceptible to adverse impacts. Unauthorized access, data breaches, and glitches are the dangers that could change the narrative of these technologies for the worse.

Additionally, Data-driven decision-making through machine learning can become biased and intensify pre-existing disparities in society if not programmed and regulated with immense care. Data inputs are a reflection of the unjust society we now live in and AI biases and discrimination are in turn reflective of them.


Thus, AI would not have had to be subjugated to regulations if it were being developed and deployed in a utopic world. But in a far-from-ideal society like ours, the problems can aggravate beyond nightmares.


COMPREHENSIVE LEGISLATIONS


Artificial Intelligence should be governed via robust regimes that must identify and radiate awareness and clarity regarding all potential threats that can stem from AI systems. A trial-and-error policy approach to regulating AI systems is perhaps the most undesirable way forward in this context.


India needs to establish dynamic regulatory bodies that will implement comprehensive policies with regular checks on AI advancements. Policymakers need to lay down rules and regulations that would hold private tech companies accountable for any misfortunes caused by their AI systems.


Tech experts and influential tech companies need to be incorporated while drafting regulatory policies as AI-related policies need to be backed by advice from entities who understand and are well-versed with the technologies. A subordinate authority offered to private tech companies will further indulge them in the policy-making process and will act as a way of bounding them to comply with the regulatory policy drafts.


Further, government-powered task forces need to be created that would conduct or ensure that risk assessments are taken place prior to public deployment of frontier AI technologies.

Policymakers must bring about these changes with a sense of urgency, considering the tremendous pace with which AI is developing. It is this urgency that is going to drive relevant safeguard policies against AI. Concluding on specific policies is not possible in the case of AI because the intrinsic concept of it includes various systems with various functions and correspondingly various risks, which will keep evolving with high velocity over time.


Policies need to keep up with the developmental pace and role of Artificial intelligent systems. The threat of AI, analogous to its benefits transcends geopolitical borders, and it is therefore necessary for India to cooperate with other countries in this mission to leverage the benefits and regulate the threats of AI.


The Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) is an ideal international platform for India to voice its responsible AI goals and partner with like-minded countries to consolidate aspects of AI governance including data protection laws to upfold the democratic integrity of the country.


It is necessary for India to conceive the AI revolution as a slow and gradual process, rather than as a global race to acquire advanced technology. The threats of AI are more real than ever right now. This is not a sci-fi movie. India must set an example for the rest of the world by ethically leveraging AI systems and curbing their subsequent dangers from proliferating before it is too late. We must create a human-operated society with finite AI assistance, not vice versa.

 

TEAM GEOSTRATA

info@thegeostrata.com

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3 Comments


Pratyaksh Kumar
Pratyaksh Kumar
Nov 08, 2023

a comprehensive take on India's endeavour to regulate AI

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itsyashrajsingh
itsyashrajsingh
Nov 08, 2023

It's high time for comprehensive #AIRegulation! Balancing innovation with safeguards is crucial for a better future.

Like

Ishan Sinha
Ishan Sinha
Nov 08, 2023

In depth analysis and suggestions for the government are what make this article different from the others.

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