Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw To NDTV On Deepfakes

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The Railways Minister visited the Swiss Rail Control Centre.

There are two aspects to new technology – There will be transitions and an increase in productivity. Several complex challenges like climate change, drug discovery, disease detection, and agriculture can be solved but there will be negatives too and our goal is to harness the positive, Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told NDTV while addressing the concerns related to the growth of AI.

Mr Vaishnaw spoke to NDTV on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum summit in Davos, Switzerland, and said the regulation of Artificial Intelligence is an important issue and there are global concerns. The Union Minister put forward his viewpoint on the regulation of AI amid growing incidents of deepfakes circulated targeting celebrities, a concern raised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well, who termed it as a “challenge to the world”.

“There are concerns about copyright, identity theft, deepfakes and racial bias and we are part of the global thinking process on AI and our approach of innovation and regulation has been widely appreciated and acknowledged,” the minister said.

The Centre has backed the proposition of regulation and to ensure social media platforms are brought into the framework of regulation and accountability to counter deepfakes and harmful AI-generated content. The minister underpinned the proposition and talked about the steps the Centre is taking to counter.

“Multiple things are being done within the IT Act rules under there are provisions under it to prevent misuse of AI we’ve had workshops with the platforms and people from the industry but I think they need to do more than this and deploy technology to detect deepfakes. The time has come for platforms to take responsibility for what they are publishing,” he said. Mr Vaishnaw called an urgent action to combat deepfakes and said social media platforms have a bigger role and they “can’t delay it”, adding that he is hopeful that the Digital India Bill is passed when the after the elections.

The Railways Minister visited the Swiss Rail Control Centre and said they are excited about the growth of railways in India and the pace of construction. Speaking about the Kavach system, an automatic train protection system, the minister said “The entire world moved to automatic train protection in the 1990s but the governments at that time were not interested in bringing in new technology. In 2016, we had the system approved, which is a very meticulous process. We did trials in the same year and in 2019 we got the certification and now we implementing it for 1,500 km and later it will be extended to 6,500 km.”

Mr Vaishnaw spoke about semiconductors and the global concern surrounding the supply chain. The minister said “Semiconductors are the foundational technology and everyone in the world needs them. People are happy with India’s entry into the semiconductor industry. People appreciate India’s focus on talent, innovation and the steps taken by it.” The supply of semiconductors is regulated, with very few countries manufacturing it creating a high demand in the global market amid geopolitical standoffs. 

The minister said we are developing a comprehensive semiconductor ecosystem to address the demands and industry leaders have said this is the time to take the next leap like starting projects to design chips that can be used in products and it will help India supply them and given the geopolitical constraints regarding semiconductors, the trust on PM Modi comes into the picture and his work in the foreign policy front. 

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