The government plans to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) to ensure digital citizens are protected. AI platforms that can harm users will not be allowed to operate in the country, says Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

"There is a narrative and melodrama around AI and then there is a reality. It is possible that over the next five years or 10 years that AI becomes intelligent enough where it will replace jobs. But today, the application of AI is on tasks as it creates more efficiency," Chandrasekhar said at a press conference highlighting digitisation milestones of the Narendra Modi government.

"While AI is disruptive, we do not see in the next few years the so-called threat of it replacing jobs because the current state of development of AI is that AI is very task oriented while jobs involve reasoning and logic," the minister says, adding that AI is not sophisticated enough at this stage, which is not to say that it will never happen.

These comments come a day after Sam Altman, the CEO of ChatGPT parent OpenAI, met PM Modi to discuss the country's tech ecosystem and how it can benefit from AI.

"Thank you for the insightful conversation @sama. The potential of AI in enhancing India's tech ecosystem is indeed vast and that too among the youth in particular. We welcome all collaborations that can accelerate our digital transformation for empowering our citizens," Modi tweeted on Friday.

The Centre has allocated $200 million to build an AI programme in order to solve India's governance challenges. "Artificial intelligence can solve India's governance problems in India... just like UPI was built to solve a government problem and has created one of the vibrant fintech ecosystems in the world, we believe AI can solve governance problems," Chandrasekhar had said in April.

"We have launched the India AI programme. The government has announced a considerable amount of money for it. Three centres of excellence are being established and these centres are not going to be standalone silos but they are going to be hubs in a network of spokes all around the country," he said, adding that the government is not going to be financially restrained.

The minister had, however, warned that there are many concerns around the unfettered use of AI. The New Digital India Act, which is a replacement for the IT Act, will cover the framework of guardrails for the ethical use of emerging technologies without disrupting innovation.

Earlier this week, tech industry body Nasscom released a set of guidelines for those engaged in research, developing, and using generative AI technologies. In terms of potential harms, the guidelines seek to help mitigate the proliferation of misinformation, disinformation, and hateful content; infringement of intellectual property; privacy harms via the violation of data protection norms and standards; propagation of harmful social, economic, and political biases; large-scale job displacement and loss of livelihood and economic strain for the industrial workforce; carbon and water footprints and environmental degradation; and surge in malicious cyber attacks.

Last month, veteran investor and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett said that humanity won't be able to un-invent AI, comparing the technology to the atom bomb.

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