The Governments worldwide are ramping up investment in artificial intelligence (AI). For instance, the US is expected to commit around $6 billion in AI related research and development projects in 2021. In Europe, spending on AI will reach $12B in 2021 according to International Data Corporation1.
The Indian government increased the outlay for Digital India to $477 million in 2020, to boost AI, Io T, big data, cyber-security, machine learning and robotics. Digital India initiative aims to make the Internet more accessible by promoting e-governance, e-banking, e-education and e-health. The government would offer industry-relevant skill training for 10 million youth in India in technologies like AI, big data and robotics.
Use of AI in Government
The use cases2 of AI in the Indian government include facial recognition and hotspot analysis, biometric identification, criminal investigation, traffic and crowd management, wearables to empower women safety, optimising revenues in the forest, cleaning river, tiger protection, digital agriculture, student progress monitoring and more. Additionally, the following key initiatives were undertaken by government agencies that created a roadmap for AI in India.
|AI Initiative (Year)||By||Purpose|
|Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (CAIR), a laboratory of the DRDO (2014)||Defense Research & Development Organization (DRDO)||For research and development in AI, robotics, command and control, networking, information and communication security. For the development of mission-critical products for battlefield communication and management systems.|
|INAI (Intel AI), an applied AI research centre, Hyderabad (2020)||Govt of Telangana, International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT-H) and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI)||Focus on solving challenges in India’s healthcare and smart mobility segment.|
|Responsible AI for Youth||MeitY Govt of India||To empower the young generation to become AI-ready and reduce the skill gap in India.|
|MCA21||Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA)||To promote ease of doing business and compliance monitoring. To leverage data analytics, AI, and ML, and to simplify regulatory filings for companies.|
|AI in Education||NRF, NCERT||Strengthen the governance structure of the research related institutions and will improve linkages between R&D, academia and industry.AI Skill Training at secondary Level.|
Issues of AI in Government
The rise of AI use in government, coupled with increased sophistication of AI applications, has triggered many public governance questions for the governments worldwide. These include:
- Challenging economic problems related to labor markets and sustainable development.
- Societal concerns related to privacy, safety, risk, and threats.
- Social and ethical dilemmas about fairness, bias, and inclusion.
- Governance questions related to transparency, regulatory frameworks, and representativeness.
Furthermore, the use of AI in the government should be transparent, at least to a certain extent, to gain citizens’ confidence in the AI application and to ensure that trust is earned. Besides, in case of government, a diverse set of stakeholders is involved, and they may have conflicting interests and agendas that add further complexity.
There is also a need for “regular scrutiny and oversight that is generally not seen in the private sector”. For instance, the technical glitches in the CoWIN app of GOI (Government of India) on the first day of the second phase of Covid-19 vaccination drive has created furor among the people and many senior citizens waiting in queue were denied vaccination. Short Message Services were sent to all the registrants about their successful vaccination though they did not get vaccinated. Therefore, policymakers need to pay more attention to the potential threats and challenges posed by AI.
Many of the concerns mentioned above call for better governance structures, including policy development on mobile application testing similar to the guidelines that were prescribed for e-Governance Applications (GuDApps) 5, Secure Web Application and Infrastructure at a governmental level.
Implications of AI in Government
Artificial intelligence will have a deep impact on how government works, creating the opportunity to offer more personal services to customers while demanding new skill sets from employees4. AI decreases the time spent on administrative work, Government employees should be able to focus more of their attention on providing a superior, personalized experience to their constituents.As the government relies more on AI, Government employees will need to understand “the technical, societal, economic and governmental aspects of AI and the data it relies on. Top AI challenges include bias, security, transparency, employee knowledge, and budget and procurement processes. Garbage in, garbage out also applies to AI. Government must be much more confident that these
AI systems can survive large-scale cyberattacks. Methods for protecting AI systems include “assigning human beings to monitor AI for integrity and attacks and enlisting employees to purposely attack systems to identify and fix vulnerabilities. Government should provide extensive and ongoing training to employees so that they can create, understand, manage and work with AI technology especially in the areas of fraud detection, evasion of taxes, money laundering, unaccounted monetary transactions, organized or un- organized crimes etc.
Governments should begin investing as soon as possible in shaping social norms, public policy, and educational initiatives to preempt an influx of machine-generated disinformation and propaganda. The high-quality text generating capabilities of Generative Pre-trained Transformer-3 [GPT-3] can make it challenging to distinguish synthetic text from the human-generated text. There are many malicious uses such as spam & phishing, abuse of legal and governmental processes, social engineering which are difficult to anticipate. Deep Fakes can be used to generate painting, morph images, videos and can even pose a threat to national security. The disadvantages outweigh the advantages offered by AI use. When the use of AI leads to harmful implications at scale, regulation should be mandatory
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List out three advantages and disadvantages of any operation in your office (Say attendance marking) when it is carried out without machines and with machines.
- International Data Corporation (IDC),(Mar 2021)
- AIM Research(Sep 2020) , “How The Indian Government Is Championing The AI Revolution”
3. AIM Research, (Sep 2020), State of Artificial Intelligence in India – 2020 (Free Report)
4. The Wall Street Journal-CIO Blog, Nov 2019, The Impact of AI on Government—Opportunities and Challenges
5. Government of India, 2018, Guidelines for development of eGovernance Applcations (GuDApps)