AI won't be a threat to jobs for next 5-10 years: Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Minister says Digital India Act will regulate emerging tech, including artificial intelligence

Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Sourabh Lele New Delhi

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is oriented towards improving efficiency and it might not get sophisticated enough to replace jobs in at least 5-10 years, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the minister of state for electronics and information technology, said on Friday.

“There is a narrative and some melodrama about AI and there is reality. It is possible that in the next 5-10 years AI will become intelligent enough and then it will replace jobs. At present, the application of AI is on tasks and creating more efficiency,” Chandrasekhar said at a press conference.

He said AI could replace jobs that require very low levels of intelligence and repetitive tasks after a few years. “But I can assure that while AI is disruptive, we do not see the so-called threat of it replacing jobs in the next few years.”

Chandrasekhar said as the government drafts the Digital India Act, it will try to regulate emerging technologies, including AI, through the prism of user harm. He reiterated that a draft of the Digital India Bill will be released for public consultation within a month.

“We will regulate AI, just like other emerging technologies such as web 3, through the prism of user harm and protecting digital nagriks (citizens),” Chandrasekhar said.

The minister was speaking about achievements of the Modi government’s Digital India initiatives over the last nine years. When asked about proposed provisions against rising illegalities on the internet, Chandrasekhar said the safe harbor clause in the IT Act, 2000 allowed big tech companies to evade their responsibility of protecting users.

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“The UPA government in 2008 modified the IT Act to bring Section 79. This gave a blanket immunity to any big tech platform from prosecution. Our government in the leadership of Narendra Modi has changed this asymmetry and brought accountability with IT Rules, 2021,” Chandrasekhar said.

As reported earlier, the government is redrawing contours of the “safe harbour” provided to internet intermediaries, including big tech companies like Meta and Google to increase their accountability for user-generated unlawful content. Chandrasekhar stressed upon the government’s policies to build an open source digital public goods, encouraging digital transactions, and rapid rollout of 5G network in the country.

He said the government has saved around Rs 2.4 trillion in the last nine years, due to the digital public infrastructure and system of direct benefit transfers (DBT). “Just to give you a broad idea, the money delivered through this DBT framework by Narendra Modiji’s government is Rs 2.9 trillion. If the mechanism of direct benefit transfer was not there, as much as Rs 2.4 trillion (of the entire amount) would have been leaked out,” Chandrasekhar said.

The minister added that India was offering the technology of digital public infrastructure (DPI) – the India Stack – during the G20 presidency. He added that the government has called a global DPI summit in Pune on June 12 and 13, where countries may sign a memorandum understanding on adapting India stack.

First Published: Jun 9 2023 | 8:35 PM IST

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