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Summary: NITI Aayog’s proposal for an AI oversight body

Central government think-tank NITI Aayog has proposed an oversight body to manage artificial intelligence (AI) policy which will lay down guidelines for responsible behaviour, and coordinate with sectoral regulators. Stressing that “existing regulatory mechanisms are best placed to enforce rules, standards, and guidelines”, the think-tank recommended that an advisory body be set up that interfaces with existing sectoral regulators, among other things Prepared “based on expert consultations over the past year”, the paper acknowledges a few experts: Professor Mayank Vatsa (IIT Jodhpur), Arghya Sengupta and Ameen Jauhaur from Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, Google Team, and John C. Havens from IEEE. The NITI Aayog had invited comments to the proposal up to December 15, 2020, it said in a draft discussion document released in November. This deadline was extended to January 15, 2021 a week ago. Since the use cases and contexts of AI deployment evolve over time, a one-size-fits-all approach is not sustainable, the paper said, citing different “risks” of use of AI across sectors, such as discrimination in credit lending or safety risks in autonomous vehicles. It also highlighted that the enforcement of AI regulation depends upon sectoral regulators such as the National e-Health Authority (NeHA) for healthcare. Instead, “a flexible risk-based approach must be adapted”, according to the discussion paper.  Functions of proposed oversight body The body should clarify what responsible behaviour is, the lack of it has “inhibited the growth” of AI in India. Giving its own recommendations for standards and guidelines, the paper says the…

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