Must avert toxicity of social media for AI to represent goodness: Rajeev Chandrasekhar

The minister highlighted that India had moved the needle on its digital economy from about 4.5% of total GDP to a target of 20% by 2025-26.

Must avert toxicity of social media for AI to represent goodness: Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Wednesday November 01, 2023,

6 min Read

The toxicity and weaponisation represented by social media must be overcome and steps should be taken to ensure artificial intelligence (AI) represents goodness, safety and trust, Union Minister of State for IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said on Wednesday.

Addressing the opening plenary session of the AI Safety Summit in Buckinghamshire near London, the minister laid out the government's vision for innovative technology as the driving force of economic growth.

The Union Minister of State for Entrepreneurship, Skill Development, Electronics and Technology dubbed AI as the "kinetic enabler" of the country's already accelerating and expanding digital economy as he called for greater accountability of tech platforms.

"We have learned in the last 10-15 years as governments that by allowing innovation to get ahead of regulation, we open ourselves to the toxicity, misinformation and weaponisation that we see on the internet today, represented by social media, and we certainly can agree today that that is not what we should charge for the coming years in terms of AI," said Chandrasekhar.

"We certainly want AI and the broader internet and tech to represent goodness, safety and trust. And, underpinning all that, platforms and innovators that demonstrate accountability under the law to all those who use it," he said.

The minister highlighted that India had moved the needle on its digital economy from about 4.5% of total GDP to a target of 20% by 2025-26. The country has achieved about 11% already, with India's innovation economy and ecosystem growing at about 2.5-3 times faster than the non-digital part of the GDP.

"For us, all things digital, the digital economy, the innovation ecosystem, represents real bread and butter, real goals and real objectives. Artificial intelligence for us, as we see it, is a kinetic enabler of the already accelerating, already expanding digital economy, innovation, growth and governance," said the minister and former tech investor.

"We are very clear that AI represents a big opportunity for us. We are extremely clear in our minds about what we need to do in terms of mitigating all of the other downsides that AI and, indeed, any emerging technology can or will represent we look at AI and, indeed, technology, in general, through the prism of openness, safety and trust and accountability," he noted.

Referring to the phrase "AI for good", the minister stressed that there should not be any doubt that the future of tech must always be only for the progress and prosperity of the collective citizens of all countries.

"Techno optimism notwithstanding, I think there is a new regime, a new framework that needs to be built, where there is greater accountability of platforms on the issue of user harm. There's greater accountability of platforms on ensuring safety and trust of all those who use their platforms, whether it is AI or indeed the broader general internet at large," he said.

Chandrasekhar is representing India at the two-day summit, being hosted by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at Bletchley Park the home of modern computing where celebrated British mathematician Alan Turing's team broke the Enigma code during the Second World War.

On day one of the summit, UK Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan set out the UK government's vision for safety and security to be at the heart of advances in AI, in order to enable the enormous opportunities it will bring.

It follows Sunak's big push to pitch the UK as a leader in examining and testing new types of AI, announcing Britain as the headquarters of the world's first AI Safety Institute. He will be joining world leaders on Thursday for closed-door roundtables and discussions.

"On Day 2, I'll be joining world representatives and business leaders to drive these important talks forward. We'll be discussing what the next five years looks like for AI, and the action we'll need to take to ensure it's developed safely, both in the short and long term," said Sunak.

"Used in the right way, AI could dwarf anything any of us have achieved in a generation. It's why I want to seize every opportunity for our country to benefit in the way I'm so convinced that it can. And it's why I believe we can look to the future with optimism and hope," he said.

Sunak is also set for an in-conversation session with X Corp chief Elon Musk at the end of the summit on Thursday.

The aims of the summit have been set out as agreeing on the risks of AI to inform managing them, better international collaboration, and looking at how safe AI can be used for good globally.

Vice-President Kamala Harris is representing the US, with countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Japan and China sending in representatives. There has been some media criticism over the lack of senior leadership from participating countries and also some questions over Chinese participation.

The summit brings together representatives from 27 countries as well as businesses, civil society and AI experts to discuss the global future of AI and its risks. Tech billionaire Musk and OpenAI's Sam Altman will participate in the first global summit of its kind to discuss the global future of AI and its risks.

"AI is already an extraordinary force for good in our society, with limitless opportunity to grow the global economy, deliver better public services, and tackle some of the world's biggest challenges. But the risks posed by frontier AI are serious and substantive and it is critical that we work together, both across sectors and countries to recognise these risks," said Donelan, as she flagged off the summit.

"This summit provides an opportunity for us to ensure we have the right people with the right expertise gathered around the table to discuss how we can mitigate these risks moving forward. Only then will we be able to truly reap the benefits of this transformative technology in a responsible manner," she said.

The minister is joined by members of the UK's Frontier AI Taskforce, which was launched earlier this year to evaluate the risks of AI models at the very cusp of the latest and most powerful systems using artificial intelligence capabilities.

Discussions will also look at what national policymakers, the international community, and scientists and researchers can do to manage the risks and harness the opportunities of AI to deliver economic and social benefits around the world.

Edited by Suman Singh