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Mukesh Ambani Pitches For New Regulation On Data Protection

Mukesh Ambani Pitches For New Regulation On Data Protection

Says India has a unique advantage to harness enormous digital capital for AI-driven development

Speaking at RAISE 2020 summit, PM calls for protecting the world against weaponisation of AI by non-state actors

IBM to set up an Artificial Intelligence Centre of Excellence with the government e-marketplace (GeM)

Reliance Industries (RIL) chairman Mukesh Ambani said countries in the future would compete over data capital, and underlined the need for a sound regulation to protect this vital national resource and ensure data privacy.

Ambani, who has been a votary of data nationalisation, said India has a unique advantage to harness enormous digital capital for Artificial Intelligence (AI) driven development that is “bottom-up and inclusive”.

Speaking at Responsible AI for Social Empowerment (RAISE) 2020 summit, Ambani said the time is ripe, and the tools are ready to make India a world leader in AI and to make AI work for all Indians. The virtual summit which was held by the government of India was called for the exchange of ideas and charter a course to use AI for social empowerment, inclusion, and transformation in key areas like healthcare, agriculture, education and smart mobility amongst other sectors.

We are confident the government will introduce a sound new data regulation framework to ensure data privacy,” Ambani said.  

The government is expected to table the Personal Data Protection Bill, which has proposed putting restrictions on use of personal data without explicit consent of Indians, in the Budget session of Parliament. Last December, the Cabinet had approved a draft of the Bill which proposes a penalty of up to ₹15 crore and a jail term for company executives violating data privacy rules.

Citing India’s global lead in mobile data consumption; its sprawling pan-India optical fiber network through BharatNet initiative; and the Make in India programme, Ambani said the country had all crucial elements in place to position itself as a ‘Premier Digital Society’.

“Together, our economy and society will generate data at an explosive and exponential rate,” he said, terming data the raw material for AI.

He further said intelligent data is ‘Digital Capital’ and a vital national resource.

“In the past, nations have competed on physical capital, financial capital, human capital and intellectual capital. But, in the coming decades… nations will increasingly compete on Digital Capital,” he noted.

India has a unique advantage to harness its enormous Digital Capital for AI-driven development, which is “bottom-up and inclusive”, on the strengths of its demography and democracy.

“When 1.3 billion Indians are digitally empowered, they will unleash a proliferation of new digital enterprises that will create faster economic growth, greater prosperity, high quality employment opportunities, and better standards of living … across all sections of our society,” he said.

Ambani, who is the chairman of Reliance Industries, said the advent of modern AI is comparable only to the birth of intelligent life on the planet.

“In the coming decades, the total non-biological intelligence will exceed rational intelligence of the entire human population,” he said but asserted that AI will “never” replace the human mind.

Instead, he said, it will vastly expand capacity to solve most complex and pressing problems before India and the world.

IBM To Set Up Artificial Intelligence Centre of Excellence With GeM

Speaking at the event, IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said the global technology company would set up an Artificial Intelligence Centre of Excellence with the government e-marketplace (GeM) to bring in transparency, usability, efficiency and cost savings in the public procurement process.

Krishna said the tech giant is working with the Karnataka government and Niti Aayog to deploy precision agriculture solutions combining AI and weather data to help farmers make better decisions. The solution, he said, was developed in India.

Must Protect World Against Weaponisation Of AI, Says PM  

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed on the responsible use of artificial intelligence and protecting the world against weaponisation of AI by non-state actors.

Speaking at the conference, he said AI has a big role to play in sectors like agriculture, creating next-generation urban infrastructure and making disaster management systems stronger.

It remains our collective responsibility to ensure trust in how AI is used. Algorithm transparency is key to ensure trust in how AI is used. Algorithm transparency is key to establishing this trust. Equally important is accountability. We must protect the world against weaponisation of AI by non-state actors,” he said.

Modi said India has experienced that technology has improved transparency and service delivery. “The teamwork of AI with humans can do wonders for our planet.”

“We want India to become a global hub for AI. Many Indians are already working on this. I hope many more do so in the times to come,” he said. 

Govt’s Big Push For Artificial Intelligence

In 2019, Indian government think-tank NITI Aayog has reportedly circulated a cabinet note to infuse INR 7.5K Cr for AI development and research in India.

Further, it proposed to invest in 20 international centres for transformational AI (ICTAI), five centres of research excellence (CORE) and setting up AIRAWAT (Artificial Intelligence Research, Analytics and knowledge Assimilation platform), a cloud computing platform which will be accessible to anyone.