India's telecom regulator wants AI authority set up

Indian telecom regulator recommends setting up a new regulatory body to ensure responsible use of AI, highlighting growing anxiety about the technology.

Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor

July 24, 2023

2 Min Read
India's telecom regulator wants AI authority set up
India's telecom regulator backs a risk-based approach to AI regulation.(Source: Pitinan Piyavatin/Alamy Stock Photo)

India's telecom regulator has recommended setting up an independent statutory authority and regulatory body, the Artificial Intelligence and Data Authority of India (AIDAI), to ensure AI-based applications and tools are adopted responsibly.

A report by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), Leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Big Data in Telecommunication Sector, says that it is crucial to regulate specific AI use cases that may directly affect humans. It recommends that the proposed body, AIDAI, should act both as a regulator and an advisory body for all AI-related domains. TRAI further suggests that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeITy) could act as the administrative ministry for the new AI body.

It recommends "a risk-based mechanism for regulating AI in India. Regulation must be proportional to the likelihood of harm that can be occasioned by an AI system; greater the risk of harm, greater the regulatory scrutiny attracted by the relevant AI system."

"The regulatory framework should ensure that specific AI use cases are regulated on a risk-based framework where high-risk use cases that directly impact humans are regulated through legally binding obligations," it adds.

The TRAI recommendations elaborate on the broad tenets of the proposed regulatory framework. It says AIDAI should comprise an independent statutory authority and a multi-stakeholder body that would advise it.

Concerns over AI are growing

The new body should develop "regulations on various aspects of AI, including its responsible use." It should define "principles of responsible AI and their applicability on AI use cases based on risk assessment." In addition, the proposed AIDAI "will oversee all issues related to data digitization, sharing and monetization in India including framing policies and incentivization schemes for data digitization, data sharing and data monetization."

The last few months have seen a rapid increase in the use of AI-based tools in several industries. For this reason, TRAI has recommended a holistic approach to study its impact in different verticals instead of focusing only on the telecom sector.

In particular, the fast adoption of ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, has raised concerns about growing AI capabilities and their implications for societies worldwide. This has prompted several countries and organizations, including the EU, UK and Australia, to start working on regulations governing the use of AI.

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— Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor, special to Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Gagandeep Kaur

Contributing Editor

With more than a decade of experience, Gagandeep Kaur Sodhi has worked for the most prominent Indian communications industry publications including Dataquest, Business Standard, The Times of India, and Voice&Data, as well as for Light Reading. Delhi-based Kaur, who has knowledge of and covers a broad range of telecom industry developments, regularly interacts with the senior management of companies in India's telecom sector and has been directly responsible for delegate and speaker acquisition for prominent events such as Mobile Broadband Summit, 4G World India, and Next Generation Packet Transport Network.

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