Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar. (File image/X)
Highlighting the national strategy on AI, Chandrasekhar emphasised its pivotal role in addressing societal challenges. However, he acknowledged the ethical concerns encircling AI, notably biases, privacy violations, and transparency issues
During Parliament’s winter session, Lok Sabha members directed their attention toward the implications of artificial intelligence (AI) and sought detailed insights from minister of state for electronics and information technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar. The discussions revolved around the potential impact, regulatory plans, initiatives, and challenges linked with AI technology.
The questions posed by the members primarily targeted the government’s strategy concerning AI deployment and its alignment with global regulations. Minister Chandrasekhar laid out the government’s ambitious vision, stating: “The government expects artificial intelligence to be a kinetic enabler of India’s fast-growing digital and innovation economy. The government’s mission is to harness the potential of AI for real-life use cases in governance, healthcare, agriculture, language translation, etc, to make AI beneficial to citizens and communities.”
Highlighting the national strategy on AI, Chandrasekhar emphasised its pivotal role in addressing societal challenges. However, he acknowledged the ethical concerns encircling AI, notably biases, privacy violations, and transparency issues. To counter these, he underlined the ongoing efforts to standardise responsible AI development and India’s active participation in the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI).
Queries about the need for regulations in AI usage prompted Chandrasekhar to delineate the government’s framework. He explained that recognising the potential harms emerging technologies might pose, the government has proactively established a robust framework through the IT Act and amended IT rules to regulate user harms.
Chandrasekhar then stated that to cultivate a trusted AI innovation ecosystem, the government has taken multifaceted steps which include the constitution of expert groups to design IndiaAI’s operational aspects, focusing on establishing Centers of Excellence (CoEs) on AI and creating frameworks for data governance. He also noted that the ministry has also launched the ‘National AI Portal’ which serves as a comprehensive repository of AI initiatives.
Moreover, initiatives such as ‘FutureSkills PRIME’, the ‘Visvesvaraya PhD Scheme’, ‘Responsible AI for Youth 2022’, and ‘YUVAi’ illustrate the government’s dedication to upskilling and empowering youth in AI technologies, says Chandrasekhar. As per the response shared by the minister, infrastructure development also takes centre stage, notably the proof-of-concept project on AIRAWAT for AI research and knowledge dissemination, alongside AI computing facilities established by the National Informatics Centre.
Delving into concerns about deepfake techniques, Chandrasekhar reiterated the government’s commitment to ensuring a secure online environment. He mentioned that the IT Rules mandate obligations on intermediaries to prevent the spread of false information, including deepfakes.
Chandrasekhar also stated that to combat the dangers posed by deepfake-generated misinformation, the ministry has directed significant social media platforms to enforce stringent measures, outlining specific directories. “In case of failure to follow diligence as provided in the IT Rules, 2021, by intermediaries, they shall lose their safe harbour protection under section 79 of the IT Act and shall be liable for consequential action,” he added.
The parliamentary discussions underscored the government’s diligent efforts to navigate the intricate landscape of AI. The focus remains on fostering a conducive environment for the responsible deployment of AI technology while safeguarding citizen safety and trust.