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Dr Pavan Duggal
Advocate
Supreme Court of India

Artificial Intelligence And Telecommunication Sector

In today’s times, the telecom sector needs to be fully prepared for the advent of artificial intelligence. This is so because artificial intelligence is increasingly gaining a lot of attention at a global level. Further, artificial intelligence is likely to enhance the seamless delivery of telecom services and also the solutions industry. Different countries have begun taking  thought initiatives in this direction.

An example in this direction is the recent executive order passed by the US president Donald Trump on maintaining american leadership in artificial intelligence in the second week of February, 2019. This document popularly known as the American AI Initiative is specifically focusing on reducing barriers to the use of artificial intelligence technologies to promote their innovative applications.

The said executive order is aimed to focus on enhanced research and developments in Artificial Intelligence and also its legal ramifications. The executive order has underlined that the US must drive technological breakthrough in artificial intelligence to promote scientific discovery, economic competitiveness, and national security.

Given the fact that telecommunications are important aspects of technological paradigm, it is evident that lot of R&D would specifically be looking at the application of artificial intelligence in the context of telecom. The said executive order has once again underlined the need of the government to ensure that the advent of artificial intelligence does not prejudicially impact civil liberties, specifically with regard to military and surveillance applications.

Given the fact that today surveillance of communication is a given reality, the use of artificial intelligence in various applications in the telecommunication sector is further likely to see a massive flip. The advent of artificial intelligence in the telecom sector brings forward issues pertaining to the protection and preservation of privacy and national values.

The said executive order of the US president has received a mixed response. However, seen from a legal standpoint, the said executive order has pointed at important legal principles which could be important parameters in the direction of regulating artificial intelligence including maintaining safety, security, privacy, and confidentiality protections consistent with applicable laws and policies while at the same point enhancing access to artificial intelligence R&D.

This executive order of the US is likely to generate more discussion and debate and is likely to encourage more global policy leaders to come up with similar documents. Documents like this are likely to play a key role in  the growth of artificial intelligence in the context of industries including telecom.

However, when one comes to the Indian ecosystem, one quickly finds that not much work has been done in this regard. Considering the nation, which has more than 1.3 billion people and considering that telecom sector is one of the important fundamental fulcrums of growth in its economy, the principles of regulation of artificial intelligence have not been appropriately addressed at all. India has not even come up with the national policy on artificial intelligence. The entire advent and use of artificial intelligence in the telecommunication sector is likely to further give various fertile opportunities for the government to come up with the appropriate regulatory frameworks.

All this may seem futuristic talk today but the speed at which artificial intelligence is currently growing, it leaves no doubt in one’s mind that lawmakers across the world will increasingly have to start looking at coming up with enabling regulatory approaches towards dealing with the advent and growth of artificial intelligence in general and in the context of specific sectors like telecom in particular. This is an interesting area to watch as far as evolving trends are concerned.

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