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June 11, 2019
1 year

What is the issue?

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.


Source: The Hindu

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