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AI in India: Microsoft President outlines how India can lead AI governance

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OpenAI’s groundbreaking GPT-4 foundation model has prompted a range of reactions worldwide – from awe and excitement to concerns and uncertainties. This technological leap has spurred global discussions about how to harness its potential to solve challenges while avoiding potential pitfalls. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is showing great promise in helping countries tackle their societal challenges. In India, innovators are already embracing AI to drive change across various areas, such as healthcare, environmental sustainability, agriculture, education, and public services.

As India undergoes a significant technological transformation, it’s gearing up to leverage innovation for substantial economic growth. Brad Smith, Microsoft’s President, has outlined a holistic strategy featuring five crucial pillars to guide India in maximizing its potential within the realm of artificial intelligence (AI). These facets span policy, legislation, and regulatory domains. With India currently holding the G20 Presidency and Chair of the Global Partnership on AI, it stands in a prime position to lead global dialogues on AI matters.

The blueprint for responsible AI governance

Harnessing the potential of AI is only half the equation; ensuring prudent control is the other. Here’s a five-point blueprint to expedite AI governance, addressing pertinent concerns:

  1. Strengthen Government-Led AI Safety Frameworks: Governments should leverage existing safety frameworks and adopt risk-based approaches to identify and mitigate potential risks in AI deployment.
  2. Enforce Safety Brakes for Critical Infrastructure AI: Governments must mandate safety brakes for high-risk AI systems controlling critical infrastructure, ensuring human oversight and control.
  3. Develop a Comprehensive Legal and Regulatory Framework: Legal and regulatory architecture should align with AI’s technical architecture, assigning responsibilities based on roles in managing AI technology.
  4. Foster Transparency and Accessibility: Balancing security and transparency, initiatives should provide academic and public access to AI developments, while protecting essential security interests.
  5. Foster Public-Private Collaborations: Leveraging technology, public-private partnerships can address societal challenges, reinforce democratic values, and promote sustainability.

Fostering responsible AI: Microsoft’s impact on AI initiatives in India

Microsoft’s commitment to responsible AI extends beyond its own interests to encompass a broader community responsibility. This ethos has guided Microsoft to not only fulfil its internal commitments but also to aid its customers and partners in aligning with these ethical standards. This aspiration has also led Microsoft to envision expanding its training, processes, and tools in order to bolster the implementation and scalability of its responsible AI initiatives.

In 2022, Microsoft introduced a fresh iteration of its Responsible AI Standard, which has evolved into the current version in use and is also made publicly accessible. This framework outlines Microsoft’s methodology for building AI systems, incorporating practical methods to proactively identify, measure, and mitigate potential risks in advance. Anchored in a responsible-by-design approach, this strategy establishes systematic processes to minimize potential harms and amplify the benefits of AI from the outset.

In India, numerous societal initiatives are leveraging Microsoft’s services to help the population. The transformative role of AI in addressing diverse societal challenges across various domains is evident.

MyGov Sathi, an AI chatbot, emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide crucial healthcare information to citizens through Microsoft’s Power Virtual Agents. The collaboration between AI4Bharat and Microsoft Research focuses on making digital inclusion a reality by training AI models to transcribe global sign languages. Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment (ATREE) employs Azure-powered AI tools to map Northeastern India’s ecology, aiding conservation efforts.

The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) collaborates with Microsoft on the AI Sowing App, predicting optimal sowing times for farmers. Tech Saksham, a partnership by SAP and Microsoft, empowers women from underserved backgrounds in technology careers. Jugalbandi, an AI chatbot developed by Microsoft and the Indian Government, ensures inclusive public service communication across languages. SEEDS, an Indian non-profit, employs AI to predict localized risk during disasters using Microsoft Azure.

As technology advances, responsible AI governance must evolve in tandem. By prioritizing people’s interests and investing in ethical AI systems, we can navigate the evolving landscape while harnessing AI’s potential for global benefit.

Source: Microsoft

Featured image credits: Pixabay

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