New Digital India Act to look at guardrails for AI, emerging tech: Rajeev Chandrasekhar

New Delhi: The upcoming Digital India framework will have a chapter devoted to emerging technologies, particularly Artificial Intelligence, and how to regulate them through the ‘prism of user harm’, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said asserting that India will do “what is right” to protect its digital nagriks and keep internet safe and trusted for its users.

The Minister of State for IT and Electronics – who is leading a massive exercise involving wide consultation with stakeholders to frame the draft Digital India Act that will replace the two-decade-old IT Act – said India has its own views on “guardrails” that are needed in the digital space.

His comments assume significance as ChatGPT creator OpenAI, led by CEO Sam Altman, has acknowledged the need to regulate AI technology, and proposed a new international authority for regulating artificial intelligence (AI).

Asked about Altman’s recent views, Chandrasekhar said, “Sam Altman is a smart man and has his own ideas of how AI should be regulated…we certainly think we have some smart brains in India as well and we have our own views on how AI should have guardrails…

“that consultation has already started and in Digital India Act there is a whole chapter that is going to be devoted to emerging technologies which is not AI only, it is AI in particular and multiple other technologies, on how we will regulate them through the prism of user harm”.

He added: “If there is eventually a ‘United Nations of AI’ as Sam Altman wants, more power to it but that does not stop us from doing what is right to protect our digital nagriks and keeping internet safe and trusted,” the minister said on the sidelines of CII Startup Summit.

A recent blogpost by Sam Altman, Greg Brockman, and Ilya Sutskever has said in terms of both potential upsides and downsides, superintelligence will be more powerful than other technologies humanity has had to contend with in the past.

“We must mitigate the risks of today’s AI technology too, but superintelligence will require special treatment and coordination,” according to the blog.

It emphasised the need for a new international body on the lines of the International Atomic Energy Agency for superintelligence efforts.

“…any effort above a certain capability (or resources like compute) threshold will need to be subject to an international authority that can inspect systems, require audits, test for compliance with safety standards, place restrictions on degrees of deployment and levels of security, etc,” the blog mentioned.