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    Where does the IT Ministry stand on AI regulation? MeitY secretary clarifies

    While the well-developed Western world is worried about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI), other parts of the world, including India, are open to the possibilities that this technology holds, S Krishnan, the secretary of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) says. He made this comment during a symposium organized by The Centre for Digital Economy Policy Research (C-DEP) on May 17.

    “I think the government’s thinking on such technologies also reflects this particular belief that while protecting against whatever ills the technology can bring and protecting against the harms that it can cause, we have to be open to the possibility of what the innovation itself offers,” he said. As such, the regulation of AI is more oriented towards preserving the benefits that it offers and less towards restricting the way it can be used.

    Krishnan mentioned that having adequate human resources is important to become the source of AI innovation, adding that for India, the opportunity with AI rests in seeing what this technology can do for the youth. “But at the same time, we have to be very acutely aware that we have to focus on the scaling and the retraining of a lot of these people and make sure that we take advantage of that,” he mentioned.

    Key points made during the discussion:

    Focus points for AI: With AI, the government is focusing on—

    • creating capacity through multiple channels, to make sure that the country develops models that are specific to India. Krishnan said that while ChatGPT 4 models developed overseas are able to do everything in Indian languages, they have some biases due to the data they use and the volumes of data they have access to.
    • Cleaning up of data with data platforms
    • How AI is applied to different sectors

    On the AI advisory: Speaking about the March 15 AI advisory issued by MeitY, Krishnan said that the idea behind it was “to say that at least people who create these large models should be responsible enough to tell us what they’re doing.” Krishnan mentioned that the old laws are still more than applicable to AI. “If you’re telling a lie or if something is misleading, it is misleading under the 1860 IPC [Indian Penal Code] as well,” he explained.

    He said that the crucial part with AI is finding misleading content quickly enough, the virality element of such content is what causes harm. “Sometimes you have to find technology to tackle those kinds of issues also,” he added.

    Revival of India’s electronics industry: Krishnan mentioned that India has made IT hardware available without any customs duties in the past, but doing so has killed off its electronics industry. “I think what the pandemic has taught us and what various other things have taught us is that resilience is very crucial,” he said adding that India should have its own capacity in electronics, specifically in designing electronic products. He mentioned that increasingly there is a notion that India needs to become a “product nation”. “In fact, MeitY has set up a little task force under the Principal Scientific Advisor’s Chairmanship to advise us on what measures can be taken to make it there really a product nation from being purely a services nation,” he added.

    On blockchain technology: “As far as the blockchain is concerned, I think there, again, the possibilities are going to be immense. Part of the problem has been created by the fact that everyone has associated it more with cryptocurrency and whatever else has happened with cryptocurrency. And in the process, it’s not got its due in terms of using the technology,” Krishnan said. He mentioned that India has a National Blockchain strategy in place and that the government intends to guide the use of this technology in areas that could be important to the country.

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    The post Where does the IT Ministry stand on AI regulation? MeitY secretary clarifies appeared first on MEDIANAMA.

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