Supreme Court Justice of India, S. Ravindra Bhat, calls for a new set of laws and concepts to prepare the legal system to deal with the challenges of AI. He voiced this opinion in an exclusive interview with The NRI Nation on the sidelines of the Harvard India conference at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA.
As AI technology surges to new heights, legal systems must adapt rapidly to keep up with the implications of these revolutionary models. From ChatGPT and DALL_E to several other upcoming AI models, the AI landscape is constantly changing - creating an urgent need for lawmaking worldwide.
"It's a completely new world that we're looking at. So I think we have to look beyond traditional methods of creating laws; we have to cater to a different architecture of making laws, which ensures privacy and accountability," said Justice Bhat.
According to an IBM survey conducted in 2022, 57 percent of companies in India had deployed AI in their business, and an additional 27 percent of the companies were exploring AI as a future possibility.
Justice Bhat highlighted how AI could help the legal system saying, “It can do a lot of data crunching, which means that from the judges, lawyers, or even the administrative adjudication perspective, you're dealing with tax cases, which are routine, AI can be immensely useful, it can take off workload.
“When it comes to dealing with very complex, you know, cases involving huge numbers of documents in tech disputes or construction disputes, or even patent disputes. AI can be immensely useful, it can simplify that,” he said.
However, he pointed out AI’s dangers saying, “I think AI just works on a database. So if the database, data sets have issues of bias, these biases get reflected and can really be very, very injurious. So that's a challenge. Likewise, when it comes to databases, we need to have very robust policies and laws.”
AI is poised to revolutionize India's economy. The National Association of Software and Service Companies estimates it could add up to $500 billion by 2025 - representing 10% of India’s $5 trillion gross domestic product target.
Bhat weighed in on the need for legal professionals to become AI literate. “I think it's important that many of us who are not enabled in this tech field inform ourselves about at least the minimum information and the minimum learning content which is necessary for us to handle this,” he said.
Bhat believes the European Union is ahead of the rest in terms of its regulatory frameworks on AI. "From what I've read, the EU has got very robust practices and laws on data privacy, even AI, but India is at a very nascent stage," he commented.
When asked about the foundational principles that ought to be enshrined in regulatory laws, Bhat asserted the importance of privacy and underscored how any bias should not factor into such regulations. He added that violations should result in punitive economic penalties alongside other sanctions.
India currently lacks any specific law regulating AI; however, the country has taken initial steps to address the future of AI regulation.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has commissioned four committees to develop a policy framework for AI.
The committees have suggested a range of recommendations that include recognizing AI systems as legal entities and establishing an insurance fund or compensation scheme should civil liability claims arise.
They have also proposed setting up an Open National Artificial Intelligence Resource Platform as a central hub for AI knowledge.
The Indian Government is seeking to ensure the safety of people and property by setting up rigorous safety parameters for each AI application. As a result, the Bureau of Indian Standards has set up a committee to standardize AI, addressing the all stages of the AI development cycle.