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TEC initiates fairness assessment of AI/ML systems

Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC), the technical arm of DoT has invited inputs for developing a framework for fairness assessment of Artificial Intelligence (AI)/ Machine Learning (ML) Systems with the aim of building public trust in AI/ ML Systems.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning applications are increasingly being used in all domains such as Healthcare, Agriculture, Smart Cities, Smart Homes, Finance, Defence, Transport, Logistics, Natural Language Processing, Surveillance, and so on. Various Government Organisations are also using AI/ ML Systems for delivery of public services and e-governance.

Bias in AI/ ML Systems raises various ethical, social and legal issues. While the users expect these systems to be fair in their outcomes, a biased AI/ ML System prefers a certain demography while discriminating against others. When AI/ ML Systems are used for e-governance or by the judiciary, checking for their fairness would become a legal requirement. Therefore, one important requirement of Responsible AI is that the AI/ ML Systems should be unbiased or fair.

National Digital Communications Policy-2018 mandates for synergising deployment and adoption of AI. National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence #AIforAll, and the Approach Documents for India, released by NITI Aayog, establish broad ethical principles for design, development and deployment of AI in India.

With the aim to build public trust in AI/ ML Systems, TEC is working on Voluntary Fairness Assessment of AI/ ML Systems. Accordingly, TEC is initiating stakeholder consultations and has invited suggestions for framing procedures for assessing fairness for different types of AI/ ML Systems vide letter No.: 4-3/2022-C&B/TEC/AI-Fairness dated 22.02.2022.

As these systems are being used in all aspects of our lives, the initiative of TEC would benefit every citizen of the country. Startups and MSMEs in particular and even large enterprises will benefit as their products will be more credible and acceptable if they are assessed and certified by a neutral government agency such as TEC. It would also act as a benchmark for fairness, so Researchers, College students and other individuals, Government organisations and all segments of the society would benefit at large.

CT Bureau

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