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India Takes the Lead in AI Safety and Ethics

The Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, has said that India, as the chair of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI), has assumed a leading role in the field of AI. “We have maintained that AI should be guided by principles of safety and trust for users, and accountability for platforms.”

Image credit: Rajeev_GoI; X

The Minister was speaking AI Safety Summit 2023 in Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom. The United Kingdom government organised the two-day event that assembled ministers and delegates from the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, the Republic of South Korea, and many more.

At the event, Minister Chandrasekhar invited all the participating nations to the upcoming GPAI and India AI summits set to take place in December. He said that the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is clear – the world must use AI to transform people’s lives and ensure safety, trust, accountability, and mitigate user harm.

Today with a staggering 800 million Indians connected to the internet, the harmful consequences of deepfakes and disinformation have become a significant concern. This discussion is no longer purely academic. Countries are uniting and engaging in deliberations on the ethical guidelines for AI to set up safeguards for the future. “There is a growing consensus among all like-minded countries who share the principle of using AI for the greater good, progress, and prosperity of citizens worldwide,” he stated.

On 1 November, all the nations that took part in the summit unanimously agreed to “The Bletchley Declaration.” The document recognises the potential for significant risks stemming from the mishandling or unintended control challenges linked to technology, especially in cybersecurity, biotechnology, and disinformation. It highlights the significance of aligning AI systems with human intentions and advocates for a more thorough exploration of AI’s capabilities.

Minister Chandrasekhar took part in the ministerial round table on creating actions and next steps for future collaboration. During this, he discussed the importance of establishing a common awareness of the risks of frontier AI and prospective areas for collaboration. He also attended a session to share global AI opportunities where he outlined the potential of AI and technology to improve public services.

The Minister participated in bilateral meetings with counterparts from the UK, Australia, the Netherlands, and Ireland.

During his conversations with Viscount Camrose, the Minister of State for AI and Intellectual Property in the United Kingdom, they delved into the potential risks for user harm arising from AI and committed to collaborate for tangible progress in this area in the months ahead.

The Minister’s discussion with the Australian Minister for Industry and Science, Ed Husic, focussed on strengthening existing partnerships in building talent pools in the fields of emerging and critical technologies, the semiconductor ecosystem, and cybersecurity.

He emphasised the substantial advancements India has achieved in leveraging technology and how the Indian diaspora has enriched and contributed to the skilled workforce in Australia. He also underscored that after the G20 summit, the global community is increasingly acknowledging the vast technological potential held by India and other countries in the Global South.

The Minister also met with Alexandra van Huffelen, the State Secretary for Kingdom Relations and Digitalization of the Netherlands. Their discussions revolved around strategies to prevent finding themselves in a situation of playing catch-up in a fast-evolving global landscape of innovation.

“We must come to a consensus on the do’s and don’ts of AI among democratic nations to ensure that we are not left playing catch-up in a rapidly evolving world of innovation. We need to establish an institutional framework between countries that will define the guardrails for platforms, further enhancing accountability,” he said.

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