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Addressing privacy fears, CAG says ethics a must for AI in audit

Guwahati, March 13, 2023 

Girish Chandra Murmu, in his address said: “While AI offers many opportunities, it also raises concerns related to transparency and fairness.”

Indicating that assuaging worldwide fears and concerns red-flagged on the use and application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in governance including in audit, would be a top agenda item in the three-day meeting of the senior officials of the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI) of the G20 being held in Guwahati, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has said ethics has to be the key guiding factor.

The national auditor Girish Chandra Murmu, who is the chair for Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI) of the G20, in his address on Monday, said: "While AI offers many opportunities, it also raises concerns related to transparency and fairness. These issues include the impact of AI on privacy, bias and discrimination in AI systems, and inadequate understanding of AI algorithms by the general public. These problems are complex and interconnected, highlighting the need for responsible AI practices, where the fairness of solutions is ensured."

"The cornerstone of Responsible AI is ethics. Ethics focused on safety and reliability, inclusivity and non-discrimination, equality, privacy and security, protection and reinforcement of positive human values," he further said.

While AI and its applications are picking up on a global scale, there have been serious concerns raised relating to the infringement of privacy rights and promoting bias. Two priority areas — Blue Economy and Responsible AI — have been selected for collaboration within the SAI for G20. The role of SAIs is important because of its objective and criteria-based scientific approach towards programme evaluation and performance audits. (SAIs) is in a unique position to give near real time feedback to governments and policymakers for not only mid-course correction but also changes in approach, where required.

Highlighting the benefits that can accrue because of AI applications, the CAG said: "Democratisation of AI technologies is inevitable. Today we have reached a level where, AI could contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy in 2030."

"It has the potential to lead socio-economic growth and it can be used to benefit citizens and the country through targeted and timely intervention. Healthcare, retail, finance, agriculture, food, water resources, environment and pollution, education, special needs, transportation, energy, public safety, disaster management, judiciary, etc. are just a few of the areas that AI has the potential to solve," the CAG added.

Blue economy refers to the sustainable use of marine resources for exploration, economic growth, improved livelihoods, and transport while preserving the health of marine and coastal ecosystems. Responsible AI is the practice of designing, developing, and deploying AI with good intentions to empower employees and businesses, and fairly impact customers and society — allowing companies to engender trust and scale AI with confidence.

[The Hindu]

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