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India firms warm to responsible AI

Almost two-thirds of organisations said their responsible AI practices and policies were mature or they had taken steps towards responsible AI adoption, according to a Nasscom study

Businesses across India are investing in responsible artificial intelligence (AI) tools and strategies while emphasising transparency in their AI practices, a study has found.

According to India’s National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom), 60% of Indian businesses said their responsible AI practices and policies were mature or they had taken steps towards responsible AI adoption.

About a third (30%) reported having basic awareness of responsible AI imperatives without a formal strategy or framework, while developers were almost twice as likely as users to report higher levels of maturity in responsible AI.

The growing focus on responsible AI comes at a time when adoption of AI is growing in India, where more businesses and technology suppliers are baking AI capabilities into their products and services.

Nasscom’s study found large enterprises with annual revenues of over $30m are 2.3 times more likely than startups and 1.5 times more likely than small and medium-sized enterprises to report having mature responsible AI practices.

Across industries, about two-thirds of businesses in industries such as banking and financial services, telecoms and media, and healthcare had adopted mature responsible AI practices, or were gearing up to do so.

Organisations that had higher levels of maturity in adopting responsible AI practices were also more likely than those with lower levels of maturity to train employees on responsible AI practices in a bid to improve compliance with responsible AI policies.

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Nasscom said that as responsible AI adoption continues to evolve, large-scale implementation would depend on the mitigation of various technical, commercial and regulatory challenges.

While businesses continue to focus on trust and transparency in the commercial development and use of AI and AI-enabled technologies, the lack of access to high-quality data, and shortage of skilled technical and management personnel remain the biggest barriers to responsible AI implementations.

The industry trade association also noted the crucial role leadership plays in the successful adoption of responsible AI. According to the study, 69% of respondents suggested the major share of accountability for compliance with responsible AI policies should lie with their C-suite or board of directors.

According to the AI game changers report by IndiaAI, a government-led industry group, AI is expected to raise India’s annual growth rate by 1.3% by 2035 – an addition of $957bn, or 15% of current gross value added, to India’s economy.

Debjani Ghosh, president of Nasscom, noted that although 2023 was undoubtedly the year of AI, it also spurred discussions on the need for ethical and responsible AI, and its “pivotal role in solidifying brand integrity and nurturing enduring relationships with stakeholders”.

“Insights from the survey are anticipated to catalyse the creation of stronger industrial policies and strategies aimed at ensuring compliance with responsible AI,” she added. “As India gears up to become a global epicentre for AI development and use, these insights will serve as a compass for AI governance and regulations that strike a delicate equilibrium between nurturing innovation and upholding ethical principles.”

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