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At a time when data privacy is the key concern for government and citizens alike, Ministry of Electronics and IT formed committees on artificial intelligence (AI) and cyber security are likely to submit their reports soon.
The mandate of the panels, which also include top officials from companies like Google, Microsoft, TCS and IBM was to propose action in the areas of platform and data for AI, leveraging AI for identifying national missions in key sectors, mapping technologies, cyber-security, safety, legal and ethical issues.
The panel on data for AI will suggest a technical framework or platform for the emerging technology and it would also address data availability resources. The committee should recommend policy relating to legal framework, data privacy and cyber security issues.
The committee is headed by PP Chakraborty, an IIT-Kharagpur professor, top official as Neeta Verma from NIC, and also includes officials from Google, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Nasscom, TCS and other scientists from Ministry of Electronics and IT.
The recommendations of this committee, which are likely by the end of this month, will draw importance as it will suggest the policy framework regarding data privacy and cyber security for AI. Even though India is fast catching up with the developed world in terms of digitalization, yet the country has no laws regarding data protection. The government formed panel on data protection headed by Justice Srikrishna is likely to take few more months to submit its report. In that scenario, recommendations of the panel will be looked after as AI is going to play a major role going forward.
The government plans to use the latest technology for identifying national missions in key sectors like health, education, finance, agriculture among others. Experts feel the framework around AI should be strong enough so that data breach and cyber security issues are well taken care of.
The focus of government on AI can be gauged from the fact that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Union Budget 2018 had said emerging technologies like AI and machine learning are technologies of the future. He had also said think-tank NITI Aayog will establish a programme to conduct research and development in these newer technologies.
The government’s involvement of NITI Aayog to institutionalize research and development in AI supports the value that machine learning can bring to issues of national importance. Experts feel if there are synergies between the work done by the academia and industry, use cases will fast emerge that can democratize AI in India.
AI is seen as a challenge to job creation as going forward most of the work can be automated. The IT industry is currently going through the shift and job creation has been slowed down because most of the routine work is being shifted to machines. However, government feels AI can be used as a job enabler.