Centre to regulate AI with Digital India Bill: Rajeev Chandrasekhar

MoS IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar announced plans to regulate AI in line with other emerging technologies to protect digital citizens from harm.

Centre to regulate AI with Digital India Bill: Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Friday June 09, 2023,

3 min Read

Union Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the Centre will regulate artificial intelligence (AI) in light of ChatGPT creator Sam Altman’s visit to India.

“Our approach towards regulating AI is fairly simple; we will regulate AI as we will regulate Web3 or any emerging technology to ensure that they (the technology) will not harm digital citizens,” Chandrasekhar said at a press conference.

The government is currently working on Digital India Bill to replace the Information Technology Act, 2000. The law, whose draft is expected to be released this month, is aimed at taking the digital economy to $1 trillion by 2030 by harmonising "everything that is going on in the tech space," the minister said earlier.

The Bill also seeks to address online safety, banning porn, content harmful for children, copyright infringement, misleading content, impersonation, content deemed against India's unity and integrity, computer malware, banned online games, etc.

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Earlier this week, the industry body National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) unveiled a set of guidelines aimed at developers and researchers to engage with commercial and non-commercial development of AI models and tools.

NASSCOM emphasised the importance of anticipating and evaluating contingencies, ensuring transparency and accountability through public disclosures, and prioritising reliability, safety, inclusion, and progress for humanity. Its guidelines stressed on addressing bias, adhering to privacy norms, conducting safety testing, publishing research findings openly, and focusing on generative AI applications that enhance human agency and well-being while promoting technical Al safety.

“For India, AI represents an opportunity to solve complex challenges at scale, augment productivity, boost GDP, and become a meaningful global AI player. However, it is equally important that this is done responsibly evaluating all potential risks and harms,” said Srikanth Velamakanni, Chair of NASSCOM’s advisory group and CEO of Fractal AI.

On his visit to India, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman ruled out any pause on AI development and advocated for government regulation. He stressed the importance of regulation and AI and the need for governments across the globe to work together on mitigating as well as harnessing AI. He also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi during his visit.

“The world can come together for important things…This is an existential risk. If the governments don’t get their act together, we will try our hardest to get every company to cooperate, but we can’t get every company to cooperate. We would at least like to ask for a dream world and, if we can’t have that, we will get the companies that want to play ball together and do our best,” Altman said at a presser.

The former Y Combinator partner also urged India to use the upcoming G20 meetings to set the global agenda for AI’s use and regulation.

Altman is on a tour of six countries and after India, he is expected to visit, Israel, Jordan, Qatar, the UAE, and South Korea in the coming weeks.

Edited by Kanishk Singh