India’s tough stand on AI content, deepfakes

India’s tough stand on AI content, deepfakes

Asks global digital companies to fix their platforms

New Delhi: As Microsoft warned India about China's plan to create and amplify AI-generated content to “benefit its interests” amid the seven-phase elections starting April 19, the Centre has come down heavily on global digital companies, asking them to fix their platforms as part of a new advisory around AI and its potential misuse during polls.

With major elections taking place around the world this year, particularly in India, South Korea and the US: “We assess that China will, at a minimum, create and amplify AI-generated content to benefit its interests," according to Clint Watts, General Manager, Microsoft Threat Analysis Center.

According to exposure management company Tenable, misinformation spread through AI-generated deepfakes and fake content are the biggest threat to the upcoming polls. "The biggest threats to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections are misinformation and disinformation as part of influence operations conducted by malicious actors against the electorate," Satnam Narang, Senior Staff Research Engineer, Tenable, told IANS recently.

Alarmed at AI’s potential misuse, the Centre last month said that social media intermediaries “must not permit any bias or discrimination or threaten the integrity of the electoral process.” A new IT Ministry advisory now specifically deals with AI, which says that digital platforms have to take full accountability and cannot escape by saying that these AI models are in the “under-testing phase.”

"It is reiterated that non-compliance to the provisions of the IT Act and/or IT Rules would result in potential penal consequences to the intermediaries or platforms or its users when identified, including but not limited to prosecution under IT Act and several other statutes of the criminal code," according to the advisory.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a conversation with Microsoft Co-founder Bill Gates late last month, also expressed concerns about deepfakes in a democratic country like ours.

"I have engaged with leading minds on AI and its risks. I suggested that we should start with clear watermarks on AI-generated content to prevent misinformation. Proper sources of AI-generated content should also be mentioned," he emphasised. "Someone can even misuse

my voice to deceive people and such a deepfake can trigger widespread uproar. We need to think about creating robust dos and don'ts on deepfakes," the Prime Minister told the billionaire philanthropist.

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