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regular-article-logo Saturday, 20 April 2024

Taming the AI genie

AI raises three major ethical concerns: first, privacy and surveillance; second, bias and discrimination; third, and perhaps the most difficult, is the role of human judgment

Basil Gupta Published 02.11.23, 06:50 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File Photo

A heated debate concerning the regulation of Artificial Intelligence has been ignited in the midst of the ongoing evolution of AI technology. While the United States of America and European nations are moving towards implementing stringent AI regulations, the Indian government has adopted a different stance. India has chosen not to enforce AI laws at this juncture with the intention of positioning itself as a global leader in AI and capitalising on AI’s potential for effective governance.

The rationale behind avoiding strict regulations stems from the concern that such regulations could stifle innovation in India’s rapidly growing AI sector. While critics argue that regulations are necessary to mitigate the potential threats posed by AI technologies, proponents of the non-regulatory approach underline the importance of fostering innovation and embracing market mechanisms to drive AI development.

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Mechanisms responsible for AI development are already in progress in India. Ethical concerns surrounding AI are being addressed through the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence. AI raises three major ethical concerns: first, privacy and surveillance; second, bias and discrimination; third, and perhaps the most difficult, is the role of human judgment. The NSAI emphasises the crucial importance of safeguarding the privacy and security of data, especially personal information. It also draws attention to the existing lack of formal regulations concerning privacy and security, advocating for their development. On ‘bias and discrimination’, the NSAI has identified various cognitive biases in AI that tend to be prejudicial towards certain groups across religion, race, caste, gender, and genetic diversity. As for the ‘role of human judgment’, the NSAI proposes that since AI systems are created and trained by humans using real-world data, there’s a possibility that human biases might be incorporated into the decision-making process.

Public sentiment regarding AI is largely positive in India. The nation has high contribution rates to AI projects. This underscores the enthusiasm and the potential for AI-driven growth in the country. However, the need for caution is apparent due to the inherent risks associated with AI technologies. As AI technology continues to advance, it is imperative to adopt a proactive but balanced regulatory approach.

India’s approach to AI regulation is a reflection of the delicate balance between encouraging innovation and addressing potential risks. While the absence of strict regulations has sparked concerns about unchecked development, it also reflects the Indian government’s confidence in the potential benefits of AI for its citizens
and the economy. A collaborative approach involving cooperation between regulators and developers is crucial to strike this balance effectively.

The evolution of AI in India is mirrored in its rapidly advancing technology sector. Various sectors, including finance, telecommunications and manufacturing, are witnessing the integration of AI applications that promise growth and innovation. However, this integration also brings about regulatory challenges, particularly in areas related to privacy and cybersecurity.

As the AI landscape continues to evolve, ethical considerations should remain a focal point. The principles of safety, equality, inclusivity, transparency, accountability, and the preservation of human values should guide the country’s journey toward ethical AI. These principles would provide a solid foundation but translating them into practical applications would require careful deliberation and strategic implementation.

Balancing innovation with ethical considerations and risk mitigation is a complex endeavour that demands collaboration among government bodies, industry leaders and legal experts. Comprehensive legal frameworks tailored for AI, ethical AI principles, and a focus on privacy and data integrity will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of AI in India.

Basil Gupta is a student at the National Law University, Jodhpur

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