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    India’s R&D Wing of Defence Ministry Collaborates with IIT Bhubaneshwar For AI-Driven Surveillance Projects

    India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has collaborated with the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bhubaneswar for undertaking artificial intelligence (AI) driven surveillance and other projects, according to a PTI report republished by the Indian Defence Research Wing.

    During a meeting between Binay Das, Director General (DG) of the Electronics and Communication Systems (ECS) cluster, DRDO, IIT Bhubaneswar officials, senior scientists and officials of both institutions, the DRDO handed over to IIT Bhubaneswar nine projects sanctioned to the ECS, while another 7 projects are in process to be sanctioned with Rs 18 crore funding.

    Officials have informed the PTI that the collaboration will focus on advancing electronics warfare, AI-driven surveillance, power systems, radar systems etc. It will also contribute to research and development requirements for defence applications in order to further the goals of Atma Nirbhar Bharat.

    Indian Army’s plans to use AI in defence systems

    In March, speaking at the NDTV Defence Summit Army Chief General Manoj Pande revealed that the Indian army is preparing an AI roadmap for the next 20 to 25 years. Discussing the ways in which AI will be used in India’s defence sector, Pande informed that the planned AI projects will cover “natural language processing, facial recognition, vehicle tracking, satellite imagery analysis and other autonomous systems”. He added that the military is also working on a “tri-services project” to create a “high-powered computing AI cloud”.

    Highlighting the Indian army’s growing interest in using AI, Pande informed that the military is also undertaking collaborations with different ministries to incorporate emerging technologies in military processes.

    MediaNama reported earlier, that in 2019 the Ministry of Defence had established a high-level Defence AI Council (DAIC) for strategic implementation of AI for national security and defence. The DAIC is expected to guide the partnership between the government and industry and also review the recommendations concerning the acquisition of technology and startups. Additionally, the Centre of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR) in the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has also developed autonomous technology-based products for surveillance and reconnaissance purposes.

    What’s concerning?

    The use of AI-driven reconnaissance systems, which can identify and engage targets without human intervention, raises questions about adequate safeguards against errors in algorithmic decision-making that can have significant impact on human rights. Additionally, it’s worth asking if there are appropriate legal frameworks for the accountability of AI systems on account failures that can harm civilians.

    The use of AI for military purposes coupled with the rise in the usage of drones in India for law enforcement raises significant concerns regarding data privacy and surveillance risks.  AI technologies can process vast amounts of data from drones, satellites, and ground sensors to monitor activities over large areas. This capability can be used for general surveillance or targeted surveillance, potentially infringing on privacy rights and civil liberties. Not to forget, India’s personal data protection law exempts publicly available data from safeguards provided.

    Finally, AI systems can perpetuate or even exacerbate existing biases if they are trained on skewed or unrepresentative data. In the absence of adequate oversight and laws governing the use of AI for defence purposes, unfair targeting or discrimination in operational contexts caused by biased algorithms can further impact human rights.


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    The post India’s R&D Wing of Defence Ministry Collaborates with IIT Bhubaneshwar For AI-Driven Surveillance Projects appeared first on MediaNama.

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