Global standard for AI: Can we bell the cat?

Talk of regulating artificial intelligence (AI) really became mainstream in the aftermath of the popularization of private tech firm OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
Talk of regulating artificial intelligence (AI) really became mainstream in the aftermath of the popularization of private tech firm OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Summary

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for a global AI framework to promote ethical development. Mint decodes if such a global regulatory model is achievable

NEW DELHI : India’s B20 task force has recommended setting up a regulatory framework for “responsible AI", and PM Narendra Modi has called for a global AI framework to promote ethical development. Mint decodes if such a global regulatory model is achievable.

Why the buzz around regulating AI?

Talk of regulating artificial intelligence (AI) really became mainstream in the aftermath of the popularization of private tech firm OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Since new AI tools can mimic human cognitive abilities and create deepfakes that are hard to distinguish from original audio and video, global tech leaders say a framework is needed to regulate the tech. The B20 Summit said regulating AI would be crucial to enable global real-time payments, maintain trust at workplaces, prevent cyber attacks and, most importantly, ensure that the internet does not become fragmented by regulations in different countries.

What are business leaders saying?

On Sunday, Modi told the B20 Summit India in Delhi that there is a need for a global framework on ethical AI. B20 is the G20 business forum. A panel featuring Microsoft vice-chair Brad Smith, Adobe chief Shantanu Narayen, IBM chief Arvind Krishna and others highlighted the role of AI in finance, cloud services, healthcare and infrastructure. OpenAI chief Sam Altman has said AI must be regulated to reduce its role in fraud and warfare. But laws must not restrict innovation. A B20 task force asked India to set up regulations to establish checks on firms in India and globally, while enabling innovation.

Is there a precedent for such global regulation?

Take civil aviation. Every nation has its own commercial aviation regulator to lay down what is permissible. But there’s a common framework all nations agree with in order to facilitate international flights—the International Civil Aviation Organization. Microsoft’s Smith says this United Nations body offers a precedent for how global regulation of AI can work.

Can countries and tech collaborate?

Despite geopolitics and corporate rivalry, a global framework is possible. In 2020, India helped found the Global Partnership on AI, a 29-nation body. Its goal is to collaborate on establishing a common global framework for responsible and ethical AI. This year, Microsoft, Google, OpenAI and others created an industry body, Frontier Model Forum, that will follow common oversight and governance rules. Shortly before this, these firms joined Meta and Amazon to agree to the US government’s AI safety assurances.

Where do Indian laws stand in terms of AI?

In June, the minister of state for information technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, said regulation to check risks from AI is being considered for the upcoming Digital India Act. In July, the apex telecom regulatory body Trai floated a consultation paper that proposed setting up a body to regulate AI through a “risk-based framework". The new Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023, introduced checks on data scraping for AI. But as of now, there are no direct regulations in India on AI.

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