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THE REGULATION OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN INDIA

“Artificial Intelligence – Man’s New Best Friend”[1]

Artificial Intelligence has woven itself into the fabric of our everyday lives so imperceptibly that one does not comprehend what share of their reality is AI-generated. Be it smartphones, home assistants, or Chat GPT and similar writing aids, AI has become vital in making our lives easier. The law and its keepers have taken kindly to AI, with predictive analytics, document automation, contract analysis, and legal research being just a few of the legal applications wherein AI is employed extensively. Although artificial intelligence as a technology is not usually a party to legal disputes as of now, though it is not a far-fetched idea in present times, its implementations might be vital to cases and proceedings. Even in the agriculture industry, AI technology has found use in precision farming, crop monitoring, forecasting yields, and insect recognition. It allows farmers to make data-driven decisions and optimize their resource usage.[2] However, many do not understand what exactly AI is. Artificial intelligence (AI) describes computer systems that can carry out tasks that traditionally require human intelligence.[3] AI uses algorithms and data to analyze, learn, and make judgements or predictions. AI can be narrow, created with a single goal or issue in mind, such as Alexa, Siri, systems for speech recognition, picture recognition algorithms and search engines, or general systems that have human-like intelligence and are capable of carrying out any intellectual work that a human being is capable of.

AI, INDIA AND THE NEED FOR REGULATION

Presently, AI is not specifically regulated in India by codified laws, statutory rules or regulations, or even official guidelines. The Information Technology Act of 2000[4] and the rules and regulations created thereunder outline the requirements in this area. A strategy for the introduction, application, and integration of AI into society has also been released by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.[5] To undertake AI projects in crucial domains including education, agriculture, and health, NITI AAYOG has partnered with several top AI technology providers. An AI standardisation team has also been established by the Department of Telecommunication to create various interface standards and the India AI stack. The general approach to the regulatory framework for AI is open and supportive of development.[6] The Union IT Minister has also assured that “user harm or derived user harm through any technology” will be the sole foundational principle for the Center’s approach to any regulation of artificial intelligence.[7] The judiciary too, has expressed appreciation for the integration of AI into various sectors, with Justice Kohli of the Supreme Court of India recently declaring in a speech on the subject of “Artificial Intelligence and the Legal Sector” that there are “no limits to growth because there are no limits to human intelligence and imagination” and that since AI is a human invention, there are no such restrictions.[8]

While AI has undoubtedly been a rather useful innovation, it does pose rather alarming risks. AI systems that gather and handle personal data have the potential to be abused to violate people’s fundamental right to privacy, set out in the landmark judgement of K.S Puttaswamy v. Union of India.[9] Data breaches or unauthorised spying are examples of this. Several companies such as Amazon and Apple are embroiled in lawsuits for their AI assistants, under allegations that they listen in on conversations, even when turned off. This data is then recorded by these corporations and often passed on to private contractors.[10]

Due to their human origins, AI systems may unintentionally reflect and exacerbate biases found in the data they are trained on. This can result in discriminatory effects in many different industries and decision-making processes if it is not appropriately handled. Facial recognition software often does not recognize the faces of African-Americans, and if not reflected in the audio recordings in the training database, AI-powered captioning programmes might be unable to effectively transcribe someone speaking English with a faint foreign accent.[11]

AI can also be used to produce convincing fake media, or “deep fakes,” that can be used for unlawful purposes like distributing false information, demeaning people, or swaying public opinion.[12] In one instance, criminals instructed a worker to transfer 35 million dollars (33 million euros) using deep fake technology to mimic the voice of a company CEO, according to Europol.[13] Criminals could also employ deep fake technology to alter or fabricate electronic evidence in court cases, abuse children for underage sex, create non-consensual pornography, and coerce people online.[14] Cybercriminals can use AI to create sophisticated assaults, automate hacking procedures, or run social engineering ruses. Malware and bots with AI capabilities can put users at serious risk. Due to the lack of human supervision in decision-making, the development of AI-powered autonomous weapons systems poses hazards and raises questions about responsibility.[15]

THE WAY FORWARD: DYNAMIC LEGISLATION

A proper legal framework is thus required to set out guidelines for the lawful use of AI and to outline what constitutes “misuse” of AI, and what might entail such misuse. The primary hurdle is the legislative category that AI may be placed in, so that statutes that cater to specific problems that AI presents may be dealt with accordingly. There are two approaches to such categorization. AI may be considered either as a separate legal entity and dealt with as such, seeing that while it is created by humans the degree of control that humans have over its actions and interactions is limited after a certain point. However, in this scenario, AI must also be conferred with all the rights that a non-person legal entity enjoys, which may not be an altogether practical proposition. The second approach is to consider AI as a work generated by humans under Copyright Law and hold its creators liable for any damage it causes. The drawback to this is that as mentioned above, the degree of control creators enjoy over their AI is non-existent after a point, and holding them liable would thus be unfair. Whichever approach is adopted, it is vital that the authorities consider the different major user groups of AI, and decide upon their liability in the face of misuse compared to each other. A corporation abusing AI and a teenager misusing AI, for example, might be treated differently in the eyes of the law. A hurdle to regulation is the timing of such control. The development of AI in India is still in its nascent stages, and extensive and rigid control at this stage would only lead to the premature stunting of positive growth. However, it is also necessary to regulate the usage of AI before it has caused irreversible harm has become such an integral part of the economy and society would any restriction could cause a greater negative impact than a positive.

Although a recent introduction to the ever-growing field of the Internet and allied sciences, AI has left a deep and remarkable effect on our daily lives. The scope for AI in India only continues to grow. In one of its most recent publications on artificial intelligence, Accenture offers a framework for assessing the economic impact of AI for a subset of G20 nations. It predicts that AI will increase India’s yearly growth rate by 1.3 percentage points by 2035. It also discovered that by 2035, AI would boost India’s economy by about 1 trillion. [16]The IndiaAI programme started by the Indian government in 2021 seeks to advance AI in the nation. The government would create three centres of excellence, an ecosystem and cooperation between the government, academia, startups, and industry under the IndiaAI programme according to the Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT. To date, the programme has received around one billion rupees in funding. [17]Considering the active promotion of AI, it has become necessary to regulate it to prevent misuse. Measures to regulate AI, in whatever form or capacity, is vital in ensuring that it achieves its full potential in transforming the lives of humans for the better and not for the worse.

Author(s) Name: Gowri Bipin (Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad)

References:

[1] Devin Lynch, ‘Artificial Intelligence: Man’s New Best Friend’ (The Medium, 14 September 2020) <https://medium.com/@devinlynch_41707/artificial-intelligence-mans-new-best-friend-9d40d6a11ac> accessed 18 August 2023

[2] Aggarwal N and Singh D, ‘Technology Assisted Farming: Implications of IOT and Ai’ (2021) 1022 IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering <https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1757-899X/1022/1/012080/pdf> accessed 11 July 2023

[3] ‘What Is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? ‘ (Google Cloud, 2020) <https://cloud.google.com/learn/what-is-artificial-intelligence> accessed 18 August 2023

[4] The Information Technology Act 2000

[5] National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2018

[6] Abhishek Malhotra and Bagmisikha Puhan, ‘India: Artificial Intelligence Comparative Guide’ (Mondaq, 13 June 2023)

<https://www.mondaq.com/india/technology/1059762/artificial-intelligence-comparative-guide> accessed 11 July 2023

[7] ‘Govt Will Regulate AI to Keep Digital Citizens Safe; Tech Poses No Risk to Jobs in Next 5 Years: Union IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar’ (Times of India, 09 June 2023) <https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/we-will-regulate-artificial-intelligence-and-any-emerging-technology-based-on-user-harm-it-minister-rajeev-chandrasekhar/articleshow/100873366.cms> accessed 11 July 2023

[8] ‘“AI Should Not Be Viewed as Threat, but As…”: What Supreme Court Judge Said’ (Mint, 12 February 2023) <https://www.livemint.com/news/india/ai-should-not-be-viewed-as-threat-but-as-what-supreme-court-judge-said-11676151442123.html> accessed 11 July 2023

[9] Justice K. S. Puttaswamy (Retd) and Anr v Union Of India And Ors (2017) 10 SCC 1

[10] ‘Ai and Privacy: The Privacy Concerns Surrounding AI, Its Potential Impact on Personal Data’ (The Economic Times, 25 April 2023) <https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/how-to/ai-and-privacy-the-privacy-concerns-surrounding-ai-its-potential-impact-on-personal-data/articleshow/99738234.cms?from=mdr> accessed 14 August 2023

[11] ‘Racial Discrimination in Face Recognition Technology (Science in the News, 24 October 2020) <https://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2020/racial-discrimination-in-face-recognition-technology/> accessed 14 August 2023

[12] William Brangham, Harry Zahn and Michael Boulter, ‘How artificial intelligence is being used to create ‘deep fakes’ online’ (PBS News Weekend, 23 October 2023) <https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/how-artificial-intelligence-is-being-used-to-create-deepfakes-online> accessed 11 July 2023

[13]  ‘“Deepfake” Crimes on the Rise, Europol Warns’ (Telecom News, 29 April 2022) <https://telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/deepfake-crimes-on-the-rise-europol-warns/91166803> accessed 11 July 2023

[14] Ibid

[15] Islam R, ‘Council Post: AI and Cybercrime Unleash a New Era of Menacing Threats’ (Forbes, 26 June 2023) <https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2023/06/23/ai-and-cybercrime-unleash-a-new-era-of-menacing-threats/?sh=1bc48ad7162b> accessed 14 August 2023

[16]‘Artificial Intelligence in India’ (India, Science, Technology & Innovation, 2020) <https://www.indiascienceandtechnology.gov.in/sites/default/files/AI Trend story.pdf> accessed 11 July 2023

[17] Om Gupta, ‘Here’s What Government Has to Say on AI Regulation in India’ (Techlusive, 10 June 2023)

<https://www.techlusive.in/artificial-intelligence/mos-it-says-govt-wont-regulate-applications-of-ai-in-india-1389083/> accessed 11 July 2023