In June 2018, the Indian government defined a national policy on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in a working paper titled, National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence #AIforAll.” The NITI Aayog paper identified five focus areas where AI development could enable both growth and greater inclusion: Healthcare, agriculture, education, urban-/smart-city infrastructure, and transportation and mobility. The paper also discussed five barriers to be addressed.
These were lack of research expertise, absence of enabling data ecosystems, high resource cost and low awareness for adoption, lack of regulations around privacy and security, and absence of a collaborative approach to adoption and applications.
In 2017, Canada became the first country to adopt a national AI strategy; since then, at least 60 countries have adopted some form of policy for AI.
The prospect of an estimated boost of 16 per cent, or $13 trillion, to global output by 2030 has led to an unprecedented race to promote AI uptake across industry, consumer markets, and government services. Global corporate investment in AI reportedly reached $60 billion in 2020 and is projected to more than double by 2025.
The work on developing global standards for AI has led to significant developments in various international bodies, a recent Brookings Institute report points out.
These encompass both technical aspects of AI in standards development organisations (SDOs) such as the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), among others, and the ethical and policy dimensions of responsible AI.
Countries which aspire to major power status, for example the BRICS nations, will increasingly need to focus their diplomatic efforts to ensure they have heft in these bodies. The Group of Seven (G7) has already agreed to establish the Global Partnership on AI, a multi-stakeholder initiative working on projects to explore regulatory issues and opportunities for AI development.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), meanwhile, has launched the AI Policy Observatory to support and inform AI policy development. Several other international organisations have become active in developing proposed frameworks for AI development.
The declarations by various public and private organisations aimed at guiding the development of responsible AI, however, have till now mainly focused on general principles. But now the business end is here – efforts to put these principles into operation through a full-fledged policy framework have begun.
Canada’s directive on the use of AI in government, Singapore’s Model AI Governance Framework, Japan’s Social Principles of Human-Centric AI, and the UK guidance on understanding AI ethics and safety are considered frontrunners in this regard.
Most recently, the EU proposal for adoption of regulation on AI marked the first attempt to introduce a comprehensive legislative scheme governing AI. To align policy making efforts, the world needs to focus on the most compelling reason for stepping up international cooperation – AI research and development is an increasingly complex and resource-intensive endeavour in which scale is an important advantage and the first step.
THE STATESMAN (INDIA)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK