Artificial Intelligence (AI) Breakthrough

The need for an Indian system to regulate AI


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: AI applications

Mains level: Emergence of AI and need for careful regulations

What’s the news?

  • Divergence in AI Regulation Approaches: Western Model Emphasizes Risk, Eastern Approach Prioritizes Values, Urges India to Shape Regulations in Line with Cultural Identity.

Central idea

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) has firmly entrenched itself in our lives, heralding a transformative era. Its potential to revolutionize work processes, generate creative solutions through data assimilation, and wield considerable influence for good and ill is undeniable. In light of these realities, the imperative for AI regulation cannot be overlooked.

The need for careful AI regulation

  • Ethical Impact and Accountability: AI’s decisions can have ethical implications, necessitating regulations to ensure responsible and ethical use.
  • Data Privacy and Protection: As AI relies on data, regulations are essential to safeguard individuals’ privacy and prevent unauthorized data usage.
  • Addressing Bias and Fairness: AI can perpetuate biases present in data, leading to unfair outcomes. Regulations are required to ensure fairness and prevent discrimination.
  • Minimizing Unintended Outcomes: Complex AI systems can yield unexpected results. Careful regulation is needed to minimize unintended consequences and ensure safe AI deployment.
  • Balancing Innovation and Risks: Regulations strike a balance between fostering AI innovation and managing potential risks such as job displacement and social disruption.
  • Ensuring Security and Accountability: Regulations help ensure AI system security by setting standards for protection against cyber threats and unauthorized access. Establishing clear guidelines enhances accountability for any security breaches.
  • Preserving Human Autonomy: Regulations prevent overreliance on AI, preserving human decision-making autonomy. AI systems should assist and augment human judgment rather than replace it entirely.
  • Global Collaboration and Consensus: Regulations facilitate international collaboration and the development of common ethical standards and guidelines for AI.

Contrast between Western and Eastern approaches to AI regulation

  • Global Regulatory Landscape:
    • Governments worldwide are grappling with the challenge of regulating AI technologies.
    • Leading regions in AI regulation include the EU, Brazil, Canada, Japan, and China.
    • It forms groups such as the EU, Brazil, and the UK as western systems, while Japan and China represent eastern models.
  • Intrinsic Differences:
    • Western and eastern approaches to AI regulation exhibit fundamental differences.
    • Western regulations are influenced by a Eurocentric view of jurisprudence, while the eastern model takes a distinct path.
  • Western Risk-Based Approach:
    • Western systems employ a risk-based approach to AI regulation.
    • Risk categories such as unacceptable risk, high risk, limited risk, and low risk are identified for AI applications.
    • Different regulatory measures are applied based on the risk level, ranging from prohibitions to disclosure obligations.
  • Eastern Models: Japan and China
    • Japan’s approach is embodied in the Social Principles of Human-Centric AI.
    • These principles include human-centricity, data protection, safety, fair competition, accountability, and innovation.
    • China’s regulations emphasize adherence to laws, ethics, and societal values in AI services.
  • Values vs. Means:
    • A stark difference emerges between the two models regarding their approach to regulation.
    • The western model specifies how regulations should be implemented, focusing on means and rationale.
    • The eastern model emphasizes upholding values and ends, embracing the overlap between legal and moral considerations.
  • Comparative Effectiveness:
    • The western model is well-suited for rule-abiding societies, offering clear rules and punitive measures for non-compliance.
    • The eastern model emphasizes a holistic approach, allowing for flexibility and acknowledging the intertwining of legality and morality.
  • Hindu Jurisprudence Concept:
    • The concept of Hindu Jurisprudence is introduced, referring to legal systems that embrace the overlap between legal rules and moral values.
  • Historical Perspective:
    • The differences between eastern and western approaches have historical roots.
    • Professor Northrop’s study in the 1930s highlighted cultural and philosophical distinctions in legal systems.

Distinction between Eurocentric and Eastern legal systems

  • Eurocentric vs. Eastern Legal Systems: Professor Northrop’s analysis distinguishes between Eurocentric (Western) and Eastern legal systems. Western legal systems create rules through postulation, defining specific actions and penalties in a given social order.
  • Postulation in Western Legal Systems: In Eurocentric systems, laws prescribe precise actions and consequences for non-compliance. The focus is on specifying what must be done within a legal framework.
  • Intuition in Eastern Legal Systems: Eastern legal systems, referred to as Oriental, establish rules through intuition. Laws set the desired end or objective to be achieved and the moral values underlying the law.
  • Role of Morality and Ends: In the Eastern approach, the moral aspect of the law plays a central role. Legal rules are geared towards achieving specific moral and societal objectives.
  • Success of Ancient Indian Legal Systems: Ancient Indian legal systems achieved success due to clear objectives and underlying moral codes. People complied with these laws through intuition rooted in morality.
  • Examples of Moral-Based Compliance: Instances like the Pandavas’ exile and Emperor Ashoka’s edicts demonstrate how ancient Indian laws aligned with underlying morality. These historical examples show how people followed laws guided by intuitive understanding and moral principles.
  • Law and Morality in Eastern Cultures: In Eastern cultures, law and morality are often intertwined. Moral values influence the creation, interpretation, and adherence to laws.
  • Impact of British Colonialism: The British colonization of India introduced a transplant of Western legal systems. The current legal system in India is seen as lacking the virtues of both the ancient Indian system and the English legal system.

How should AI be regulated in India?

  • Perspective of Justice V. Ramasubramaniam
    • Justice V. Ramasubramaniam, a retired Supreme Court judge, has criticized the tendency to blindly emulate Western legal systems.
    • In his judgments, he has highlighted the need to draw inspiration from Indian traditions and jurisprudence.
    • A significant judgment on cryptocurrency by Justice Ramasubramaniam includes the Sanskrit phrase neti neti, indicating a non-binary perspective.
    • Judges viewpoints like this could guide regulators in adopting a more Indian approach to regulation.
  • NITI Aayog’s Approach:
    • The NITI Aayog has circulated discussion papers on AI regulations.
    • These papers predominantly reference regulations from Western countries like the EU, the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia.
  • Alignment with Indian Ethos:
    • India should establish AI regulations that reflect its cultural ethos and values.
    • Drawing from India’s historical legal systems could provide a more appropriate regulatory framework.
  • Hope for Better Regulation:
    • AI regulation in India will be more considerate of Indian values and heritage than current indications suggest.
    • It emphasizes the importance of a regulatory approach that aligns with the Indian ethos.


  • The emergence of AI as a transformative force necessitates rigorous regulation. Embracing India’s unique legal heritage and considering the alignment of AI with societal values could lead to regulations that serve both innovation and morality. As India contemplates its AI regulatory landscape, it must not only look to the West but also introspect and turn its gaze eastward.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch