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SC ruling on privacy first step in making India ready to adopt AI, says Meity official

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The Supreme Court upholding privacy as a fundamental right is the first step to make India ready to adopt artificial intelligence and the government has already started working on the framework for the same, according to officials.

“When we are talking about whether we are ready to get into this whole artificial intelligence (AI) journey. I think we are ready and we are looking at it and going there in stages. I think the first stage is where the Supreme Court has said that privacy is a fundamental right (and) that should be kept in mind,” Ministry of Electronics and IT (Meity) Joint Secretary Gopalakrishnan S said at a FICCI event here on Wednesday.

A panel comprising government officials and industry experts participated at the event.

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All big companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google are the biggest consumers of AI and at the same time their usage of technologies leads to concerns as well, Gopalakrishnan added.

“People are concerned when it is something like Google or Facebook but when it is something like Amazon or Netflix people are not that scared. The difference is very simple to see. When you are using Amazon or Netflix, you are a consumer and you are benefitted. When you are on Google somebody else is the advertiser. There is a conflict of interest and there it leads to internal debate on how should data be handled,” he said.

The Meity joint secretary also said that very soon a law around protection of personal data will be in place to protect the privacy of people which will soon be much more vulnerable with deployment of large number of sensors within the house and outside.

Internet companies use AI technology to analyse personal data of people connected online and push products before them that they may buy.

“Privacy is basic. Whatever is happening so far without any concerns for privacy,” Gopalakrishnan said.

IIT Hyderabad Director UB Desai said that experts have drafted a lot many papers and reports on AI but it is time to act and develop the technology in the country with proper funding.

Meity National eGovernance Division, President and Chief Executive Officer, M S Rao said that framework is being developed under National Programme on AI under which a national centre will be set up and many other ministries, industry, NGOs will be part of it to develop and adopt the technology.

He said the government has made provision in the budget for development of AI in the country but the amount that will be earmarked cannot be disclosed at present.

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