India will regulate AI, but not at the cost of innovation: Govt official

New Delhi, May 17, 2024.

The government will attempt to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) but not in a way that could stifle innovation in the space, a top IT ministry official said Friday. This signalled that the Centre is expected to take a middle path for AI regulation, as it has taken in some of its recent technology laws such as data protection, where the focus is not just on protecting civil rights, but also towards facilitating the country’s growing start-up base.

“While we will attempt to regulate AI, we are clear that innovation is not stifled in the process. It (innovation) needs to be encouraged… Like we did with the DPDP (Digital Personal Data Protection) Act, we will ensure that both the interests of innovation and protection of vital interests will come in in the future,” said IT Secretary S Krishnan, speaking during a session titled ‘AI: What does the future hold’ at the CII Annual Business Summit 2024.

He also said that India may have an advantage over other countries in arriving late to AI regulation as it can learn from other regions’ mistakes. “We have an opportunity to learn and figure out what has gone wrong (in other countries) and make a framework that works for India… It is a bit of an advantage in coming to the scene a bit late,” Krishnan said.