Jun 21, 2020

Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history. Unfortunately it also might be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks.”-- Stephen Hawking

Machine intelligence is known as artificial intelligence in contract to the intelligence of humans and animals. AI techniques play a major role in the technology industry, helping to solve challenging problems in computer science, software engineering and operations research. In the twenty-first century, AI techniques have experienced concurrent advances in computer power, large amounts of data and theoretical understanding. 

All over the world billions of dollars have been spent in developing new products and services based on AI. It is widely believed that adoption of digital technologies has improved the standard and quality of life across the globe and has made our lives simpler. AI has led to development of driverless cars, facial recognition software and new ways of diagnosing for treating illness of people. Every industry is trying to maximize the benefits of using AI for the purpose of invention, creation and innovation. 

But in the midst of these revolutionary changes many experts have shown their concern to regulate artificial intelligence, because it is seen as technology with immense power with both benefits and risks at the same time. It may result in abusing the technology which will have disastrous consequences especially if AI is used in guiding weapon systems. 

However, there are no proposals or protocols established about regulating the agenda of the AI developers, especially the large tech companies. Some leaders of the industry have articulated key principles to be kept in mind while designing AI systems. In the absence of any regulation to adhere to, AI is now to be established keeping in mind some principles. It is more of a self-regulating process which should include fairness, transparency, inclusiveness, reliability, safety, privacy, security, etc. 

The most important aspect for AI should be that it should be beneficial for the society at large. It is very crucial for the government to strike the right balance between their roles of policing and promoting artificial intelligence. Countries like the EU, China and the U.S have reaped greater benefits by becoming home to some of the world's most successful digital companies and also creating an economic ecosystem that positions them for further growth and dominance. It is not only led to giving them abundant power but has also resulted in providing a major comparative advantage as compared to other countries. 

One of the greatest examples of AI is the internet; it is free, open and has made everything readily available with just one click. This has encouraged entrepreneurs and innovators to invest more, take risks, and develop products and services for consumers in order to maximize their utility. It is a smart business strategy and therefore industrialists worldwide want AI to grow without any authority regulating it. 

The application of AI and challenges are global in nature but the regulating approach may differ from one country to another. If we look into the situation of the European Union, it took the lead in formulating and enacting a detailed regulation on data usage and privacy in the world which in contrast to the USA, follows the principle of light touch regulation. Some countries are in the process of designing guidance regulations as general principles of governance. 

The trade-off is between addressing the potential harms versus development of these technologies. In order to develop AI technologies, money and time have been spent still there are major concerns about the purpose and safety of its usage with the constant risk of machine intelligence overpowering human intelligence.

In India, though a separate regulation is not enacted to keep AI in control, there are regulating frameworks which are already in place. As an example, under Consumer Protection Act, 2019, manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, retailers are held responsible for any harm that the product may cause also are liable for damage i.e. death, personal injury or damage caused to the private property in a case a product or any of its component parts are found to be defective. 

It can be seen that though there is no direct law to regulate AI but there are some of the existing laws and regulation on liability that could be used with or without suitable alterations or modifications to mitigate any apprehension and risks from the implementation of AI. It is noteworthy to see that such laws not only pose liability but also provide defence in cases where when the defect did not exist at the time when the product was under use. 

There is a constant dilemma on deciding the liability of the developer of technology as to whether the defect is to do with the way a product was designed or the way it has been used. Therefore, the issue of attribution of liability in case of any harm by an AI system is highly questionable. But the unpredictability of AI applications is probably perceived as the biggest challenge in regulating AI highly because it is an automated process. It is possible that AI technology may take decisions or lead to outcomes that are outside the purview of the design or the instruction of the operator of the application. 

Even if AI were to have an independent legal personality from its creator and operator, some of the liabilities especially on account of criminal action would hold a developer accountable who is involved in its design and deployment. It seems that an AI regulatory agenda should incorporate two elements, firstly, the same regulations that would apply to a human being performing the same or a similar function. Some modifications may be made to current legislations or proposals at an advanced stage, so that AI can be addressed and included through them and secondly additional regulations that would address and manage the risks posed by AI that are inherently unique to such systems and distinguish them from the rest.