Hype and hysteria over artificial intelligence must be tempered to prevent knee-jerk reactions from regulators and to ensure India can reap the benefits cutting edge technology offers, write Abhivardhan and Mridutpal Bhattacharyya

To its boosters, artificial intelligence (AI) is the silver bullet to cure humanity’s many problems. Critics see the technology as an existential threat to our species. Amid the hype and hysteria, governments and global business are racing to make the next breakthrough, define the challenges AI presents and draw up rules of engagement for a technology that the UN University Centre for Policy Research says is “transforming the geopolitical order” with a “shift in the balance of power between intelligent machines and humans” already visible.

The heated world debate over AI’s potential – both good and bad – risks sparking not only an arms race for strategic leadership, but also a patchwork of unwarranted and stifling regulation and a public loss of trust in the technology. And all of this at a time when the world needs more, not less, technological innovation.

AbhivardhaN, Indic Pacific, Deconstructing AI
Managing Partner
Indic Pacific Legal Research

Recognising both the hyperbole over AI’s potential in the near future as well as the hysteria driving public fear of the technology is a vital first step to policies that can control the dangers while allowing for its continued evolution.

Governments in the global south, unlike many developed economies, have yet to formulate concrete policy and regulatory approaches to AI. Unlike many of its peers, however, India’s massive and thriving tech sector is already heavily involved in developing AI – including through ventures with global technology companies. This makes it vital that India filter out the noise and focus on shaping national priorities that will benefit regulators and courts, as well as innovators and entrepreneurs.

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Abhivardhan is the managing partner of Indic Pacific Legal Research and Mridutpal Bhattacharyya is the deputy chief innovation officer of the Indian Society of Artificial Intelligence and Law, a technology law research organisation specialising in AI ethics and legal regulation.