Though India today does not have the required skillsets in AI, it is trying to catch up with the rest of the world through a renewed thrust. NITI Aayog has already submitted a detailed paper to the government, and has suggested creation of a multi-stakeholder marketplace for AI.
While innovation in AI happens at a frantic pace, a flexible policy framework is necessary to enable successful deployment of AI products and services. BSA has released an AI Policy Framework that highlights five key pillars for facilitating responsible AI innovation. Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, Country Manager India, BSA | The Software Alliance, explains the relevance of this framework for India
From an AI perspective, what are the key opportunities and challenges for India?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a tool to help people make better decisions. Whether for securing networks, improving health, or helping farmers save money, the impact of AI is already visible in every industry and across the globe. Our member companies are also developing AI solutions across sectors. For example, Microsoft has developed an AI-sowing app for farmers to predict the best time for sowing seeds and other stages of the farming process, increasing crop yields as a result.
However, at its core, AI depends on data and AI systems are “trained” by ingesting enormous volumes of data. The benefits of AI are therefore dependent on the quantity and quality of data that is available for training, which often in today’s world of connectivity originates from different geographies, making it imperative that data can move freely across borders. As a result, government policies affecting the ability to access and share data can have a significant influence on the development of AI.
Currently, do AI systems have an adequate governance model? What are the key risks of not having an adequate governance model in place?
India is one of the fastest growing economies and the exponential increase in data, combined with increases in remote computing power and development of more sophisticated algorithms, has fueled advances in machine learning and AI. Capitalizing on these capabilities to facilitate the development of AI requires sound data innovation policies that (1) ensure data can move freely across borders, (2) guarantee open access to government data, (3) facilitate the development of value-added data services, and (4) maintain predictable, technology-neutral competition policies.
Recognizing this, the Indian government and NITI Aayog are working to establish a National Program on AI to guide the research and development in new and emerging technologies. Countries across the world are also recognising the increasing importance of AI and launching guidelines to reap the benefits of AI. Most recently Singapore launched a model AI Governance Framework, the US reintroduced the AI in Government Act of 2018 , and 41 nations of the OECD backed the recommendation of the Council on Artificial Intelligence to ensure AI systems are designed to be robust, safe, fair, and trustworthy.
Can you share the basic tenets of your AI Policy Framework?
Artificial Intelligence is increasingly becoming a foundational technology that drives many products and services that people use every day. The AI systems that BSA members provide assist in the analysis of enormous volumes of data to find connections that improve the quality and accuracy of human decision-making.
AI has the potential to generate substantial economic growth and enable governments to provide better and more responsive government services while addressing some of the most pressing societal challenges. We have identified five key pillars for facilitating responsible AI innovation:
• Building confidence and trust in AI systems: AI must be developed and deployed using customer data responsibly. Herein, raising awareness of and building confidence in AI systems, and using AI to reduce bias in decision making is important.
• Sound data innovation policy: The exponential increase in data has fueled advances in machine learning and AI. The development of AI requires sound data policies, with the need to:
* Ensure data can move freely across borders
* Facilitate open access to government data
* Avoid the creation of new rights in business data
* Maintain predictable, technology neutral competition policies
• Cybersecurity and privacy protection: As emerging technologies like AI are increasingly connecting our economies, we must advocate for policies that strengthen enhanced security measures and respect informed consumer choices while delivering valuable tailored products and services.
• Research and development: Investment in education, research, and technological development will be integral to continued development of AI technologies and global economic growth.
• Workforce development: Use of new technology is creating new jobs in every sector. For the new skills required for these jobs, the public, private, and academic sectors should have important roles in implementing policies for the next generation jobs of the future and allow the current workforce to transition successfully to the new job environment.
Specifically with respect to India, how will this framework help?
BSA’s Artificial Intelligence Policy Overview establishes the foundation of policies and efforts required to propel the successful adoption of AI. The framework lays down the steps to enable India to reap the benefits of AI in healthcare, financial services, digital transactions, medical emergency response processes, and cybersecurity.
For example, a team of deep learning and machine intelligence experts at Siemens Corporate Technology are developing a traffic management solution that fully automates traffic control and monitoring. The prototype tested at the Electronic City campus in Bengaluru in collaboration with the Electronics City Township Authority (ELCITA) captures video streams from several cameras installed and processes them using deep learning techniques based on AI.
With immediate processing, typical traffic management tasks such as vehicle detection, traffic density estimation, and control of traffic lights can be automated for real-time performance. Sound data policies that facilitate access to government data and promotes innovation will enable the expansion of such capabilities.
The Government of India is also effectively working to promote AI innovation. NITI Aayog in 2018 released a discussion paper on National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence to share with the industry on how India can leverage the transformative technology to ensure social and inclusive growth and position itself among leaders on the global AI map. The key pillars laid out in BSA’s AI framework are critical for a flexible policy framework that will facilitate responsible AI innovation that is necessary to enable successful deployment of AI products and services.