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India needs to work on AI, must be ready to face legal, ethical upheaval: Defence Minister

Rajnath Singh was speaking after inaugurating an event titled 'AIDef (Artificial Intelligence in Defence)' here in the national capital

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New Delhi: India needs to work on artificial intelligence mechanism “extremely carefully” and be ready to face the legal, ethical, political and economic upheaval that may follow the expansion of this technology, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday. He stressed that AI technology should not be dominated by a country or a group, as has been the case with nuclear technology, and India needs to make advancements in the field.

Singh was speaking after inaugurating an event titled ‘AIDef (Artificial Intelligence in Defence)’ here in the national capital.

“We have to use artificial intelligence (AI) for humanity’s progress and peace. It should not be the case that a country or a group of countries establish their dominance on this technology – just like nuclear power – and the remaining countries are not able to enjoy the fruits of this technology,” the defence minister said.

He noted that AI’s ethics and possible dangers must be properly thought-out.

“We cannot stop the progress of artificial intelligence and we should not try to stop its progress. But we need to be careful about it,” he mentioned.

When a new technology brings a considerable change, its transition period is also as big and serious, he said.

“Since AI is a technology that can bring a massive change, we must be ready to face the legal, ethical, political and economic upheaval that may follow,” Singh noted.

“We need to work on AI extremely carefully so that this (technology) does not go out of our control in the coming times,” he added.

The defence minister said the arrival of technology is just like the movement of a clock because once it moves forward, it is not possible to turn it back.

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“Whenever a new technology comes, society takes its time to adjust itself to it,” he added.

He also said that the country should ensure democratic use of technology.

The defence sector is undergoing important changes due to AI. The training of soldiers is also being improved with the help of AI, he said.

Referring to Russia’s continuous progress in science and technology, he said, “On AI, Russian President Vladimir Putin had said ‘Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world’.”

“Although India believes in the principle of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the whole world is one family) and has no intention to rule the world, we must develop the capability of our AI technology so that no country can even think of rulling us, he added.

India has started incorporating AI applications in remote piloted, unmanned aerial vehicles, etc, he mentioned.

There is a need to move further in this direction so that India can develop autonomous weapon systems, he noted.

“Timely infusion of technologies like AI and Big Data in the defence sector is of utmost importance so that we are not left behind the technological curve and are able to take maximum advantage of technology for our services, he mentioned.

Singh launched 75 defence products powered by artificial intelligence at the event.

Some are already being used by the armed forces while the rest are in the process of deployment.

These 75 products are in the domains of robotics systems, cyber security, human behaviour analysis, intelligent monitoring system, supply chain management, voice analysis and C4ISR (command, control, communication, computer and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) and operational data analytics.

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(Defence Watch– India’s Defence News centre that places the spotlight on Defence Manufacturing, Defence Technology, Strategy and Military affairs is on Twitter. Follow us here and stay updated.)

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