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India’s Modi warns Bill Gates about dangers of AI

The PM spoke with the US billionaire in New Delhi about benefits and dangers of AI, technological inclusion, and climate change

Indians are not only adapting to new technology but also leading the way, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates told Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a recent discussion in New Delhi.

Video footage of the conversation, in which the US billionaire asked the Indian leader about his views on technology, the empowerment of women, and climate change, was released by the prime minister’s office on Friday. 

Gates noted India’s focus on adopting new technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and said the country was “actually leading the way” in this area.

“One of the themes that India brings to the table is that technology should be for everyone,” the tech billionaire added.

In response, Modi said he did not want India to face a digital divide, and had distributed technology to rural India, where it improves access to education, as well as medical and government services.“We have democratized technology to prevent monopoly,” he said. “It is by the people and for the people.”

India, a country of over 1.4 billion people, has more than 820 million active internet users, and over half of these (442 million) come from rural parts of the country, according to a report in the Economic Times.

Modi and Gates also spoke about the rapid advancement of AI, which the prime minister described as “very important.” He warned, however, that the technology should not be used as a “magic tool” out of “laziness,” emphasizing the importance of comprehensive training for AI systems.

He also proposes the idea of adding a watermark to AI-generated content. Modi cautioned against the dangers of AI-generated deep fakes, and suggested adding measures to tackle misleading content. “In a democratic country like India, anybody can use deep fake. It’s crucial to acknowledge that deep-fake content is AI-generated. We need to think about some dos and don’ts,” he said.

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While it has embraced AI to assist in rapid advancements in healthcare, agriculture, and education, New Delhi has also been proactive in creating policies to control the impact of the emerging technology.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s minister of state for electronics and IT, said earlier this year that New Delhi was “deeply concerned” about the impact of “cross-border actors” spreading disinformation through deep fakes to create problems ahead of the country’s general election, which begins in April. New Delhi has warned that it would hold social-media companies accountable for such content on their sites.


READ MORE: Google chatbot’s Modi remark sparks controversy

A major controversy erupted in February, after Google’s Gemini chatbot appeared to link the Indian prime minister with fascism. New Delhi said Gemini had violated India’s Information Technology Act and several provisions of the criminal code.

Earlier this month, India issued an advisory requiring “significant” tech firms to obtain government permission before launching new models. However, the directive was rolled back after criticism from local and global entrepreneurs and investors.

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