‘Check facial recognition misuse’

Countries around the globe, including India, should have proper regulations to ensure governments do not use facial recognition or any other facet of artificial intelligence (AI), in a way that would impinge on peoples’ most-cherished democratic freedoms, urged Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer, Microsoft.

“What does facial recognition mean in a country, say in India, or a world where we value freedom of expression, where we want people to have the freedom to assemble,” asked Mr. Smith.

“Should we be comfortable with the prospect that people can be surveilled if they are peacefully protesting?” he queried while speaking at RAISE 2020, a virtual global AI summit.

Mr. Smith discussed transparency and accountability as the foundational principles that can ensure the ethical use of AI. Before any country advances, it must advance a responsible AI that’s grounded in clear and firm ethical principles, he insisted.

Mr. Smith saw work on AI being done in India to be very important. “One of the reasons I think the work in India is of such fundamental importance globally is that I think these issues around facial recognition, for example, go to the heart of democratic freedoms, and it will be the world’s great democracies that need to lead the way,” he said.

Mr. Smith sees India becoming a superpower in AI. “As we look to the future, I think it’s fair to say that between now and the middle of this century India almost inevitably will become one of the world’s AI superpowers,’’ he further added.

While AI can revolutionise virtually every part of the economy, Mr. Smith said countries that move the fastest while deploying AI will find they will be accelerating economic growth faster.

However, the bedrock of a responsible AI strategy should be accountability. Plus, it should be fair, unbiased, and it should offer security and safety, to ensure people’s privacy, and most importantly, it should be inclusive, by all means, he advised.

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