AI, Aye Captain: India Will Need Legal Framework for Artificial Intelligence, Say Tech Experts

As the popularity of artificial intelligence (AI) continues to grow in India, experts believe there is a need for a legal framework or policies for AI to ensure its right usage.

AI and machine learning have a wide range of applications that impacted a number of industries and changed how businesses operate. AI is being used by companies abroad as well as in India to drive business results.

The global AI market was nearly $59.67 billion in 2021, and it is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 39.4% to around $422.37 billion by 2028.

According to International Data Corporation (IDC), the AI market in India is expected to grow at a 20.2% CAGR to $7.8 billion by 2025, up from $3.1 billion in 2020.

Amitabh Kant, former NITI Aayog CEO, said earlier: “For India, the era of AI holds promise beyond economic growth – the promise and potential of solving some of the country’s most difficult social and societal challenges…Not to forget the use of AI for malicious intent (fake news, deep fakes etc.) to create misinformation is already beginning to accumulate as negative externality pitted against the benefits to society.”

What India Needs

Supreme Court lawyer Pavan Duggal had earlier said: “We neither have a national policy on AI nor any legal framework. So along with AI, Blockchain and IoT have to be specifically addressed in the Indian context.”

Anand Prajapati, Co-founder and CTO of Leena AI told News18 that while promulgating laws to regulate the usage of AI can slow down the initial progress, it will set a good precedence. “As of now, AI in India is just like any other tool, and a tool in the wrong hands can do far more harm than good. Having policies and laws specific to AI can regulate the usage and ensure responsibility and accountability. Moreover, such laws can guide users in preventing the unethical use of data while protecting human rights and user privacy, and building responsible solutions that are diverse, inclusive, ethical, and governed. In addition, such laws can also protect companies from the potential liability of their AI causing harm or accidentally making mistakes,” he added.

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Rachit Chawla, CEO of Finway FSC, said: “If somebody tries to use AI without significant knowledge, it might backfire, like a few years ago in the US when Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg got involved in a controversy wherein the bots started talking to each other and AI became a difficulty.”

“Also, there is a study under the name of Singularity which might trigger a huge problem for human beings at large. But there should be laws to protect the future,” he added.

AI Singularity refers to an event in which the AIs either become self-aware or achieve a level of continuous improvement that is so powerful that it evolves beyond human control. Chawla believes that policies are needed so that AI is only used for the benefit of the people.

Another expert Devashish Goyal, CEO and Founder, OhLocal, said, “AI technologies today determine the information people consume on social media, the creditworthiness of individuals, suggest the most appropriate route for one to take on the way home from work, and can even predict the vegetable or fruit one is going to order next.”

He said that most AI systems get trained based on historical data and can uncover patterns, learn from examples, as well as predict future decision-making outcomes and these predictions and classifications are generalizations based on large datasets that humans would not be able to analyse at a similar scale.

“It is evident that the impact of AI, in the long run, is going to be transformative, and it is now referred to as the ‘new electricity’. As industry and governments move towards developing and deploying these technologies, their societal and ethical implications are also coming into focus. Which is why it is becoming important to introduce AI-focused regulations,” he added.

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Goyal highlighted that India’s AI policies or laws should address the ethical, social and technical limitations surrounding AI technologies.

“It must also take into account crucial aspects such as access of data to third parties, as India is home to the world’s largest biometric identity project, i.e., Aadhaar, and depends on how it can be used to develop applications at scale that are developed and implemented in India. Furthermore, such a policy must also be taking note of consequences of such technologies on privacy and freedom of expression and how to make the best use of them without harming fundamental rights of citizens.”

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