News Brief

India Mulls Overhaul Of IT Act For Enhanced Oversight Of AI Firms, GenAI Models

Kuldeep Negi

Jan 04, 2024, 10:09 AM | Updated 10:09 AM IST

OpenAI is an American AI R&D company behind ChatGPT. (Photo: Levart_Photographer/ Unsplash)
OpenAI is an American AI R&D company behind ChatGPT. (Photo: Levart_Photographer/ Unsplash)

The government is expected to amend the Information Technology (IT) Rules 2021 and introduce regulations for companies specialising in artificial intelligence (AI) and generative AI models.

The amendments are likely to mandate that platforms which use artificially intelligent algorithms or language models to train their machines are free from “bias” of any kind, Economic Times reported citing people with knowledge of the matter.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is expected to soon notify the amendments. These will require that any AI algorithms or language models that contain inherent biases, or that are trained on datasets which produce biased responses, are prohibited from being released for public use.

In addition to the protective measures against bias in AI and language models, the amendments to the IT Rules could potentially introduce fresh regulations for deepfake and synthetic content. Furthermore, they may provide clear directives for platforms regarding loan apps.

“The parameters for bias that we have right now are centred around caste, religion, community and national security, among other parameters. There will be a legal obligation on platforms to ensure all these parameters are followed, thereby expanding the ambit of trust and safety of the internet,” a senior government official was quoted as saying by ET.

The official said the government will conduct consultations on additional parameters to eliminate bias apart from those already known and understood to ensure safety.

Another official emphasised that these AI models need to be subjected to sandbox and stress testing to ensure the absence of any biases prior to launching the tool in the market.

The government is likely to introduce in the upcoming Digital India Bill similar provisions that seek to empower users to seek algorithmic accountability from internet intermediaries and social media companies.

The Digital India Bill, however, may now be released only after the general election, according to people in the know. They said the government's decision to amend the IT Act may be prompted by the fact that the Digital India Bill is still some time away and developments around generative AI are progressing rapidly.

“The advisory on deepfake and synthetic content will be very specific on the dos and don’ts for platforms and how to tackle the issue. For the loan apps, we want these intermediaries to take the responsibility of preventing any kind of fraudulent advertising or stop such apps which do not have the requisite approvals from being hosted altogether,” said the official cited earlier.

The IT ministry, being the guardian of safety and trust online, is likely to adopt a strategy to prevent the operation of such loan apps in India, according to an official.

This could be either by creating a white-list of legitimate applications or by establishing a banking gateway that blocks transactions through these apps or individuals.

“An online betting or fraudulent loan app can only function if they are allowed to connect to a legitimate banking solution. If we ensure that such people who operate these loan apps are denied access altogether to the banking system by the use of predictive algorithms, a lot of these platforms will wither away,” the official said.

Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.

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