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Artificial Intelligence in the Governance Sector in India

Posted by Arindrajit Basu and Elonnai Hickok at Sep 14, 2018 11:37 AM |
The use of Artificial Intelligence has the potential to ameliorate several existing structural inefficiencies in the discharge of governmental functions. Our research indicates that the deployment of this technology across sub-sectors is still on the horizons.

Ecosystem Mapping:Shweta Mohandas and Anamika Kundu
Edited by: Amber Sinha, Pranav MB and Vishnu Ramachandran


Much of the technological capacity and funding for AI in governance in India is coming from the private sector - a trend we expect will continue as the government engages in an increasing number of partnerships with both start-ups and large corporations alike. While there is considerable enthusiasm and desire by the government to develop AI-driven solutions in governance, including the release of two reports identifying the broad contours of India’s AI strategy, this enthusiasm is yet to be underscored by adequate financial, infrastructural, and technological capacity. This gap provides India with a unique opportunity to understand some the of the ethical, legal and technological hurdles faced by the West both during and after the implementation of similar technology and avoid these challenges when devising its own AI strategy and regulatory policy.

The case study identified five sub-sectors including law enforcement, education, defense, discharge of governmental functions and also considered the implications of AI in judicial decision-making processes that have been used in the United States. After mapping the uses of AI in various sub-sectors, this report identifies several challenges to the deployment of this technology. This includes factors such as infrastructural and technological capacity, particularly among key actors at the grassroots level, lack of trust in AI driven solutions and adequate funding. We also identified several ethical and legal concerns that policy-makers must grapple with. These include over-dependence on AI systems, privacy and security, assignment of liability, bias and discrimination both in process and outcome, transparency and due process. Subsequently, this report can be considered as a roadmap for the future of AI in India by tracking corresponding and emerging developments in other parts of the world. In the final section of the report, we propose several recommendations for policy-makers and developers that might address some of the challenges and ethical concerns identified. Some of these include benchmarks for the use of AI in the public sector, development of standards of explanation, a standard framework for engagement with the private sector, leveraging AI as a field to further India’s international strategy, developing adequate standards of data curation, ensuring that the benefits of the technology reaches the lowest common denominator, adopting interdisciplinary approaches to the study of Artificial Intelligence and   developing fairness,transparency and due process through the contextual application of a rules-based system.

It is crucial that policy-makers do not adopt a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to AI regulation but consider all options within a regulatory spectrum that considers the specific impacts of the deployment of this technology for each sub-sector within governance - with the distinction of public sector use. Given that the governance sector has potential implications for the fundamental rights of all citizens, it is also imperative that the government does not shy away from its obligation to ensure the fair and ethical deployment of this technology while also ensuring the existence of robust redress mechanisms. To do so, it must chart out a standard rules-based system that creates guidelines and standards for private sector development of AI solutions for the public sector. As with other emerging technology, the success of Artificial intelligence depends on whether it is deployed with the intention of placing greater regulatory scrutiny on the daily lives of individuals or for harnessing individual potential that augment rather than counter the core tenets of constitutionalism and human dignity.

Read the full report here

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