July 21, 2024
India Requires Pre-Approval for Release of 'Unreliable' AI Tools, Tech Firms Told

India Requires Pre-Approval for Release of ‘Unreliable’ AI Tools, Tech Firms Told

In a bid to regulate the burgeoning field of AI development, the Indian government has issued a new advisory mandating that tech companies seeking to release AI tools must obtain prior approval from the government.

According to the advisory released by the Indian IT ministry on March 1, approval must be secured before the public release of AI tools deemed “unreliable” or still in a trial phase. Such tools should also be clearly labelled for potentially providing inaccurate responses to queries. Additionally, the ministry stipulated that the availability of these tools on the Indian internet must be explicitly authorized by the Government of India.

The advisory further urged platforms to ensure that their AI tools do not pose a threat to the integrity of the electoral process, particularly with general elections anticipated this summer.

This directive follows recent criticism from Indian officials, including one of the country’s top ministers, who expressed concerns over the accuracy and potential bias of Google’s AI tool, Gemini. Google had faced backlash for responding deemed “inaccurate” or biased, including one referencing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “fascist.” In response, Google acknowledged Gemini’s shortcomings and admitted that it “may not always be reliable,” especially regarding current social topics.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s deputy IT minister, emphasized the legal obligation of platforms to prioritize safety and trust. He underscored that platforms cannot simply apologize for unreliable AI outputs to circumvent legal responsibilities.

The Indian government’s move to regulate AI development is not new, as officials previously announced plans to introduce regulations targeting the spread of AI-generated deepfakes ahead of the upcoming elections, aligning with similar efforts in the United States.

However, the advisory has prompted pushback from the Indian tech community, with concerns raised that excessive regulation could stifle innovation and hinder India’s position as a leader in the tech space. Chandrasekhar responded to this criticism, asserting that the government’s intentions are not to inhibit innovation but to ensure compliance with Indian laws and uphold trust and safety standards for internet users.

He clarified that the advisory serves as guidance for companies deploying lab-level or under-tested AI platforms on the public internet, outlining their obligations and potential legal consequences under Indian law.

Amidst these regulatory developments, Microsoft announced a partnership with Indian AI startup Sarvam on February 8. The collaboration aims to introduce an Indic-voice large language model (LLM) to Microsoft’s Azure AI infrastructure, expanding accessibility for users in the Indian subcontinent.

Image: Wallpapers.com

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