Sharing African Stories 26 May, 2024

India has abandoned its proposal to mandate approval for the launch of AI models.

India is retracting a recent AI advisory following widespread criticism from both local and global entrepreneurs and investors.

The Ministry of Electronics and IT shared an updated AI advisory with industry stakeholders on Friday, removing the requirement for government approval before launching or deploying an AI model to users in the South Asian market.

Under the revised guidelines, companies are now encouraged to label AI models that are under-tested or unreliable to alert users to potential inaccuracies or unreliability.

This revision comes after India's IT ministry faced significant backlash earlier this month, with individuals like Martin Casado, a partner at venture firm Andreessen Horowitz, denouncing India's actions as "a travesty."

The advisory issued on March 1 also represents a shift from India's previous hands-off approach to AI regulation. Less than a year ago, the ministry had opted not to regulate AI growth, recognizing the sector's importance to India's strategic interests.

Although the new advisory, like the earlier one this month, has not been officially published online, TechCrunch has obtained a copy for review.

The ministry stated earlier this month that while the advisory is not legally binding, it signals the direction of future regulation and encourages compliance from industry players.

The advisory underscores that AI models should not facilitate the sharing of unlawful content under Indian law and should guard against bias, discrimination, or threats to the integrity of the electoral process. Intermediaries are also advised to use "consent popups" or similar mechanisms to explicitly inform users about the potential unreliability of AI-generated output.

The ministry continues to stress the importance of identifying deepfakes and misinformation easily, recommending that intermediaries label or embed content with unique metadata or identifiers. However, it no longer mandates that firms develop a method to identify the "originator" of any specific message.