Prelims level : Science and Tech Mains level : GS-III Technology, Environment, Economic Development
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Why in News:

  • Artificial Intelligence-/AI-driven tech will become counterproductive if a legal framework is not devised to regulate it.

What are the recent developments?

  • Recently, the Kerala police inducted a robot for police work.
  • Around the same time, Chennai got its second robot-themed restaurant.
  • Here, robots not only serve as waiters but also interact with customers in English and Tamil. In Ahmedabad, a cardiologist performed the world’s first in-human telerobotic coronary intervention on a patient nearly 32 km away.
  • All these examples symbolise the arrival of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in everyday lives of human beings.

What are the global measures in this regard?

  • Only recently, there has been interest across the world to develop a law on smart technologies.
  • In the U.S., discussions are being taken up about regulation of AI.
  • Germany has come up with ethical rules for autonomous vehicles.
  • It stipulates that human life should always have priority over property or animal life.
  • China, Japan and Korea are following Germany in developing a law on self-driven cars.

What is the need now in India?

  • Traffic accidents lead to about 400 deaths a day in India, 90% of which are caused by preventable human errors.
  • Autonomous vehicles that rely on AI can reduce this significantly, through smart warnings and preventive and defensive techniques.
  • Patients dying due to non-availability of specialised doctors can be prevented with AI reducing the distance between patients and doctors.
  • AI has several positive applications, as seen in the above examples.
  • AI systems have the capability to learn from experience and to perform autonomously for humans.
  • This also makes AI the most disruptive and self-transformative technology of the 21st century. So, if AI is not regulated properly, it is bound to have unmanageable implications.
  • E.g. the consequence if electricity supply suddenly stops while a robot is performing a surgery and access to a doctor is lost
    These questions have already confronted courts in the U.S. and Germany.
  • All countries, including India, need to be legally prepared to face such kind of disruptive technology.

What are the challenges involved?

  • Predicting and analysing legal issues in regards with AI use and their solutions are not that simple. E.g. an AI-based driverless car getting into an accident that causes harm to humans or damages property. In such cases, criminal law may face drastic challenges as the party to be held liable is disputable.

How is the AI policy progress in India?

  • In India, NITI Aayog released a policy paper, ‘National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence’, in June 2018.
  • The paper considered the importance of AI in different sectors.
  • The Budget 2019 also proposed to launch a national programme on AI.
  • But notably, all these developments are taking place on the technological front.
  • No comprehensive legislation to regulate this growing industry has been formulated in India till date.
  • What should the priorities be?
  • The first need is to have a legal definition of AI in place.
  • It is essential to establish the legal personality of AI which means AI will have a bundle of rights and obligations, in the context of India’s criminal law jurisprudence.
  • Since AI is considered to be inanimate,a liability scheme that holds the producer or manufacturer of the product liable for harm must be considered.
  • Moreover, since privacy is a fundamental right, certain rules to regulate the usage of data possessed by an AI entity should be framed.
  • This should be a part of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018.
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