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AI regulations in India: Privacy first, say agencies

Industry players are clear that offensive and violent forms of generative AI should be fully controlled with regulations in place to ensure transparent data practices

by Shantanu David
Published - Jun 1, 2023 8:31 AM  |  4 min read

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This promises to be an eventful June when it comes to conversations around Artificial Intelligence, with Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI (the creator of ChatGPT), set to visit India this month even as the Indian government finally releases its long-awaited Digital India Act, which is said to contain a set of guardrails for use of AI in the country.

The global artificial intelligence market size was estimated at USD 136.6 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach USD 196.6 billion in 2023, a figure that is expected to inflate to 2 trillion U.S. dollars by 2030.

After discussing why there is a need for AI regulation, specifically in the advertising and media industry, in a previous article, exchange4media asked insiders about the specific guidelines they think would be needed for our industry.

AI is a broad term, with some elements of it being there as a tool for automation, data analytics, market trend monitoring, and organizational management use. 

“What we now see and talk about is mainly Generative AI. Tools that are widely accessible and easy to use can be easily manipulated. Some regulations have to be implemented,” says John Paite, Chief Creative Officer (ART & TECH) Media.Monks India. He points out that regulation of non-consensual recreation or digital cloning, voice or face of any individual, stands out as a clear line that should not be crossed.

“Developers need to take this seriously as it has to come from model training stages. Offensive and violent forms of generative AI should also be fully controlled. Ultimately, there should always be a clear communication to the end user from the developers on all the important points of using Generative AI,” he adds.

Privacy First

Amitt Sharma, CEO, VDO.AI, agrees, observing that with the increasing use of AI in advertising, there is a wealth of consumer data being collected, analyzed, and utilized. “I believe regulations should focus on ensuring transparent data practices, obtaining proper consent, and safeguarding personal information.”

“Another critical aspect that should be addressed is algorithmic transparency. As AI algorithms become more sophisticated, they play a significant role in targeting and personalization. In response to these concerns, I am aware that a number of governments are considering regulations for AI in advertising,” says Sharma.

The European Union has already passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which sets strict rules for the collection and use of personal data. Additionally, other countries such as the United States are also contemplating similar regulations to address these issues.

“The advertising and marketing landscape is constantly evolving, with emerging platforms and trends. Regulations should be designed to keep pace with these changes and avoid becoming outdated or irrelevant,” Sharma added.

“Cross-border data transfers also merit attention. Privacy regulations frequently address the transfer of personal data across national borders, necessitating adequate safeguards to ensure that such data remains protected by applicable regulations,” says Vivek Kumar Anand, Chief Business Officer, DViO Digital.

“To effectively regulate AI, defining AI and comprehending its anticipated risks and benefits is imperative. However, given the continuous evolution of AI technologies, establishing a stable legal definition becomes challenging, making comprehensive regulation complex. Nevertheless, formulating guidelines for AI use cases is more feasible,” says Anand, adding that the societal impacts of AI systems primarily hinge on who utilises them, their intended purposes, and the involved parties, all of which can be subject to regulation.

Caveat Emptor

However, Anand Chakravarthy, Chief Growth Officer, Omnicom Media Group India, explains that with AI-specific regulations coupled with Data Privacy related regulations, there will be an impact on the ability of many AdTech tools or platforms to build more sophisticated AI models. “This would be attributed to the quality of data available to build these models that may diminish over time. And will potentially become one of the greatest obstacles there is for the proliferation of AI in the media space.”

“That being said, while the intent may be good with this regulation, the ability to enforce it will be a significant challenge. With advanced AI models now becoming even more accessible to people and organizations, I believe that regulatory enforcement will be an uphill task,” he adds.

Therefore, it is essential that any media platform or media tool using AI to claim a product benefit, should be required to be transparent about the data used to train their AI algorithms and the validity of that data.

Anand sums it up, saying, “While India takes a responsible AI-positive approach, striking the right balance between innovation and responsible AI use is crucial. Adhering to privacy and data protection principles, establishing accountability measures, and facilitating secure cross-border data transfers are essential for developing AI technologies in advertising and other industries. By embracing responsible practices and guidelines, we can navigate the complex landscape of AI regulation and foster the reliable and beneficial use of AI.”

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