Policy recommendations for sustainable growth of AI ecosystem in India
Blog: NASSCOM Official Blog
The rise of AI comes with several statutory warnings and requires the ecosystem to come together for a sustainable growth. The government has a pivotal role to play in driving and enabling the implementation of a large-scale AI program by creating institutions and providing public goods that enable AI ecosystems, while also encouraging the private sector to innovate and thrive in the AI space.
The recently launched joint report by NASSCOM, ICRIER and Google on Implications of AI on the Indian Economy, conceptualizes AI as a GPT and estimates the impact of AI on India’ economy. To further, detail the growth potential of AI, the report deep-dives into Case Evidences guided by a Capabilities Framework that analyse both AI developing firms and impact, on firms that have adopted AI-powered solutions. My previous articles have covered each of these aspects in detail.
The report also proposes actionable recommendations that are individually important to the implementation of a large-scale AI program, which is the focus of this article. These approaches have already been set in motion by various Government policies, but require a further boost.
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Although AI applications are visible across sectors, the impacts exist only in pockets, within these sectors and are yet to become widespread. High cost of new technologies and inability of adopters to trust them greatly affects the scalability of AI applications.
Some of the issues that caution against AI’s unhindered deployment and development comprise:
- Algorithmic bias – Biases are often inherited by the algorithm from human prejudices and the ones that are hidden in training data that could lead to incorrect/unfair decisions by the AI system
- Problem of brittleness or breakdown – Arises when the system placed in an environment different from training environment, this problem is also closely related to the larger problem of AI safety – AI systems behave in unanticipated manner/are in risk of accidents
- Inequality – Inequality between labor and capital, and inequality within labor – i.e. between tasks with high and low skill content. However, the impact this has on human employment will completely depend on how organizations deploy AI (both tools and training) and can be solved if we manage to create as many tasks as taken over by AI
Given the above issues, Government has an active role to play in creating institutions and enabling an AI ecosystem, while also encouraging private players to innovate and thrive. Action-oriented policy recommendations are critical for the implementation of a large-scale AI program. The report proposes the following policy recommendations:
- Identifying a nodal agency within the government for development and diffusion of AI the design and workings of which will be critical to push wide-scale AI adoption in India
- Building collaborative frameworks for engagement between governments, industry and academia to foster growth and promote innovative localized solutions.
- Building an all-encompassing data strategy to improve state capacity to provide AI-compatible publicly available data and encourage unbiased, reliable, safe and inclusive data sharing practices
- Addressing India’s skill gap in AI to help build directly adaptable skills for the industry and facilitate recruitment of AI specialists
- Addressing governance challenges in AI to promote safety standards and guard against impacts of biased outcomes
There are certainly differences in how countries have approached policy making in AI, and these are primarily because of the role of the Government as an enabler and that of a developer/adopter. For instance, China and USA, the two nations leading AI development have opposite approaches to policy in AI:
- AI ecosystem in the United States thrives despite the absence of a national policy and is largely, driven by the private sector
- In China, the government has handheld companies and institutions into building the AI ecosystem
Interestingly, in the context of India, we perceive the policy direction to be a combination of both!
Download our full report on Implications of AI on Indian Economy for more details and watch out for more interesting articles on AI