Trai recommends independent body to regulate AI

  • Trai says it is important to regulate specific AI use cases that may have a direct impact on humans within a risk-based framework

Gulveen Aulakh
Updated20 Jul 2023
The department of telecommunication had asked Trai for the recommendations in 2020.
The department of telecommunication had asked Trai for the recommendations in 2020.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) on Thursday released a set of recommendations advocating the urgent adoption of a regulatory framework to govern the responsible development of artificial intelligence (AI) across sectors. Trai’s 10-page report said it was important to regulate specific AI use cases that may have a direct impact on humans within a risk-based framework.

Trai also recommended the establishment of an Artificial Intelligence and Data Authority of India( AIDAI), an independent statutory authority, that will act both as a regulator and recommendatory body and play an advisory role for all AI-related domains. Trai recommended that the ministry of electronics and information technology should be the administrative ministry for AI.

“The regulatory framework should ensure specific AI use cases are regulated on a risk-based framework where high-risk use cases directly impacting humans are regulated via legally binding obligations.”

The role of AI is not limited to the telecom sector but has the potential to influence a wide range of sectors including healthcare, transportation, finance, education and agriculture, among others, it said. Hence, it is important to have a holistic approach to examine AI’s impact across sectors, rather than focusing only on telecom, the report added.

The department of telecommunication had asked the regulator for the recommendations in 2020, but Trai said that AI technology is evolving and, therefore, it took time to examine all aspects to come up with the multiple use cases for AI and machine translation in telecommunication and other sectors by studying the various international practices, which were also at a nascent stage.

AIDAI will facilitate adoption of all future technologies and innovative architectures on AI models, and coordinate with technical standard-setting bodies of the government such as Telecom Engineering Centre for accreditation of various labs for testing and accreditation of all AI products and solutions, and offer recommendations.

“The apex body will oversee all issues related to data digitization, sharing and monetization in India including framing policies and incentivization schemes for data digitization, data sharing and data monetization,” Trai added.

Other functions will include putting in place an overarching framework for ethical use of data by the government as well as corporates. “Define the process framework for use of AI and related technology in data processing, data sharing and data monetization while ensuring the privacy and security of the data owner,” it said.

AIDAI should create a uniform framework for adoption of the national data policy by private and public entities.

Trai said that AIDAI should frame regulations on various aspects of AI including its responsible use, define principles of responsible AI and their applicability on AI use cases based on risk assessment. AIDAI should evolve the framework based on its assessment, the advice of a proposed multi-stakeholder body, global best practices and public consultation, Trai said.

The multi-stakeholder body should draw members from different ministries, departments, industry, legal experts, cyber experts, academia and research institutes, besides representatives of relevant ministries and departments of central or state governments on need basis as special invitees.

“Ensuring that principles of responsible AI are made applicable at each phase of AI framework life cycle viz. design, development, validation, deployment, monitoring and refinement,” Trai specified as one of the recommendations.

Trai added that the body should develop a model AI governance framework to guide organizations on deploying AI in a responsible manner and develop model ethical codes for adoption by public and private entities in different sectors. The body should also consider other aspects of regulation of AI for orderly growth of the sector and protection of consumers.

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