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India seeks global standards to stop AI harming humanity

Takes over presidency of global AI group, and uses G20 leadership to flex manufacturing muscle

India's IT minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar has called for development of global standards to ensure that artificial intelligence does not harm humanity.

"We all should be concerned about user harm," Chandrasekhar told this week's meeting of the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) – a 29-member created in 2020 after the G7 bloc decided the world needs a multilateral think tank to consider the impacts of AI.

"I would encourage member states to think about evolving a common framework of rules and guidelines about data governance, about safety and trust as much to do with the internet as to do with AI," Chandrasekhar said.

As India is set to take over presidency of the GPAI for 2023, Chandrasekhar's remarks carried some weight.

The body already seems to agree with the theme of the minister's remarks, as a post-conference ministerial declaration saw the organization "Oppose unlawful and irresponsible use of artificial intelligence and other technologies, which is not in line with our shared values."

Another resolution called for Multistakeholder Experts Groups convened by the GPAI to "promote greater alignment between governments and the AI multistakeholder community."

India also holds the presidency of the G20 bloc, and has previously signalled it will use that status to promote global regulations that reduce opportunities to use cryptocurrencies for money laundering.

In an interview this week, India's "Sherpa" to the G20, Amitabh Kant – formerly CEO of the National Institution for Transforming India – said one theme of the nation's presidency will be to promote its digital governance model.

That model is expressed in the form of India Stack – open source versions of the digital infrastructure the nation uses to run its own government digital services. India hopes other nations will adopt the Stack and the digital governance model it expresses.

The government sees digital services as transformative, because they allow direct interaction between citizens and governments – replacing inefficient and potentially corruptible bureaucratic processes.

Kant said he hopes the G20 presidency helps other nations to understand India's successes in the field.

He also said the G20 presidency, and the many ministerial meetings it involves, will promote India as an alternative source of manufacturing resources. Kant explicitly pointed out that COVID-19 has shown the world that concentration of manufacturing in China has proven unhelpful – making India a natural alternative. ®

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