Ethical Artificial Intelligence

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August 30, 2023

Why in news?

In the context of G20 summit to be held at New Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls for a global framework on the expansion of “ethical” artificial intelligence (AI).

What is Ethical AI?

  • The ethics of artificial intelligence is the branch of the ethics of technology specific to artificially intelligent system.
  • UNESCO- It produced the first-ever global standard on AI ethics – the ‘Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence’ in 2021.
  • Importance of human oversight- The protection of human rights and dignity is the cornerstone of this recommendation, based on the advancement of fundamental principles such as transparency and fairness.
  • Core values-
    • Human rights and dignity
    • Living in peaceful, just and interconnected societies.
    • Ensuring diversity and inclusiveness
    • Environment and ecosystem flourishing.

Why there is a need for ethical AI?

According to a Capgemini report, 85% of the surveyed organisations in India have encountered ethical concerns from the use of AI

  • Lack of transparency- AI systems often lack transparency and the user is unaware that they are dealing with a chatbot or an automated decision-making system, this awareness being key to build trust with the user.
  • Digital divide- Safety and robustness of AI systems can pose serious challenges especially in high risk prone applications.
  • Unequal access to AI powered applications for marginalized populations can further increase digital divide.
  • Unemployment- There are also concerns of AI systems leading to job loss due to automation.
  • This affects the human capital and impact the overall well-being of the society.
  • Misuse of the data-The usage of AI for malicious intent for e.g. deep fakes to create misinformation have shown to have serious repercussions on society.
  • Instances of AI enabled targeted propaganda will lead to social discord.
  • Direct impacts – Implications that are caused due to citizens being subject to decisions of a specific AI system.
  • These typically result from system design choices, development and deployment practices and are studied under Systems considerations.
  • For example, AI for cancer screening needs consideration for the patient’s privacy in its design
  • Indirect impacts–It is defined as implications caused due to the overall deployment of AI solutions in society.
  • This has potential repercussions on society beyond the stakeholder directly interacting with the system.
  • They are studied under Societal considerations. Such considerations may require policy initiatives by the Government.
  • Black box problem- The inability to fully understand an AI’s decision-making process and the inability to predict the AI’s decisions or outputs.

Global Regulatory Landscapes

  • European Union Model- It is founded on fundamental rights.
  • It offers sector-agonistic guidelines that require AI practitioners to respect the proportionality between means and ends.
  •  It carefully create a balance between competing interests and objectives.
  • Singapore Model - The privacy and security regime in Singapore is consolidated under a single law – the Personal Data Protection Act, 2013 (PDPA).
  • Regulating privacy issues in AI -It is rooted in two core data protection principles
  • Consent obligation 
  • Purpose limitation.
  • USA Model - The “Principles for the Stewardship of AI Applications” called for fairness and non-discrimination to be top priorities for agencies drafting and implementing regulations on AI.

What are the steps taken by India to implement responsible AI?

  • TRAI - It recommended to collaborate globally for the responsible use of AI.
  • Digital India Bill - It aims to categorize different online intermediaries, including AI-based platforms, and propose tailored regulations for each category.
  • B20 summit- India reiterated its importance in setting up resilient and inclusive global supply chains.
  • India called for a global framework to ensure the ethical use of artificial intelligence (AI) as there are concerns over algorithmic bias and its disruptive impact on society.
  • Niti Aayog - It published a series of papers on the subject of Responsible AI for All. It published for regulating the growth of artificial intelligence in the country.
  •  Microsoft - It launched a blueprint for AI governance in India titled “Governing AI: A Blueprint for India”.
  • It proposed regulations prescribing safety and security requirements, and it also offered to share its specialised knowledge about advanced AI models to help the government define the regulatory threshold.

What are the recommendations for AI by TRAI?

  • TRAI- Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has recommended that the Union government should collaborate with international agencies and other countries to form a global agency for the responsible use of artificial intelligence
  • Authority- The telecom regulator has also recommended setting up a domestic statutory authority to regulate AI in India, through the lens of a “risk-based framework”.
  • High risk use cases-The regulatory framework should ensure that specific AI use cases are regulated on a risk-based framework where high risk use cases that directly impact humans are regulated through legally binding obligations.
  • Statutory body-There is a need to develop an independent statutory body, called the Artificial Intelligence and Data Authority of India (AIDAI), for the development of responsible AI and regulation of use cases in India.
  • Role of AIDAI- It should oversee all issues related to data digitisation, data sharing, and data monetisation in the country.
  • It should define principles of responsible AI and their applicability on AI use cases based on risk assessment.
  • It should ensure that principles of responsible AI are made applicable at each phase of AI framework lifecycle including design, development, validation, deployment, monitoring and refinement.
  • Advisory agency- It also recommended the creation of a multi-stakeholder body to act as an advisory agency to the AIDAI.
  • Members
    • Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,
    • Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology,
    • Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT),
    • Department of Science and Technology,
    • Ministry of Home Affairs, along with legal and cybersecurity experts.



  1. Indian Express | Global body on AI regulation
  2. Indian Express | PM Modi calls to expands ethical AI
  3. UNESCO | AI Ethics recommendations
  4. NITI Aayog | Responsible AI for all
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