India to ride the AI rocket responsibly, rather than regulate

Also clambers aboard the RISC-V bandwagon

India's government has decided not to regulate the growth of artificial intelligence in the country, after deciding that policy settings from 2018 don't need to be revisited.

That stance emerged on Wednesday in an written answer to a parliamentary question from minor party MP Shyam Yadav Singh, who asked minister of information technology and electronics Rajeev Chandrasekhar "whether the government is taking steps to regulate the growth of artificial intelligence in the country?"

Chandrasekhar's answer was a firm "no."

"AI is a kinetic enabler of the digital economy and innovation ecosystem," the minister's reply states, before acknowledging that AI "has ethical concerns and risks due to issues such as bias and discrimination in decision-making, privacy violations, lack of transparency in AI systems, and questions about responsibility for harm caused by it." Chandrasekhar added that India's 2018 National Strategy for AI addressed concerns about the tech, and that government agencies 'have commenced efforts to standardize responsible AI development, use and promote the adoption of best practices."

"However, the government is not considering bringing a law or regulating the growth of artificial intelligence in the country," he added.

AI has become more powerful and prominent in recent months with the advent of chatbots powered by large language models. Nonetheless, sticking with its five-year-old policy doesn't mean India's government is not across the topic: Chandrasekar's answer points out India became a member of Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) in 2020, has been voted to appoint the organization's incoming chair, and has tried to lead global conversations about limiting the potential harms that flow from AI.

Chandrasekhar also recently teased India's creation of an enormous indigenous AI model, and announced that AI will come to the Indian Government’s own platforms including the Aadhaar digital-identity-as-a-service platform and DigiLocker document storage cloud.

With that work in train (just to continue our mass-transit metaphor), suggesting a need for further regulation would be quite a reversal!

Also on Wednesday, Chandrasekhar attended a RISC-V themed conference in Bengaluru, the de-facto capital of India's information technology industry. At the event he talked up India's role as an adopter of, and source of talent for, the open source CPU architecture. One piece of support for the minister's assertions that India will become a RISC-V powerhouse was news that RISC-V upstart Tenstorrent has teamed with India's Bodhi Computing, which works on datacenter-grade systems using the architecture.

Delhi has published a roadmap that calls for the creation of locally-designed RISC-V Systems on Chips (SoC) for servers, mobile devices, automotive applications, IoT devices, and microcontrollers, with products promised to emerge in late 2023.

Little has been heard of those efforts in recent months – leaving very modest processors that run at just 100MHz as India's most recently-revealed silicon. ®

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