Future Course of Action
A solution that is comprehensive in scope, drawing from current legislative instruments while acknowledging and addressing the specific issues offered by AI technology is required to address the legal and regulatory vacuum for AI in CCS in India. Among the most important legislative references in this respect are the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practises and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011 (SPDI Rules),[i] the planned Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023 (“2023 Act”),[ii] and the Digital India Act, 2023.[iii]
First and foremost, incorporating AI governance concepts into current data protection laws—particularly those pertaining to SPDI—is a crucial first step in closing this gap. In India, data processing and collecting are mostly governed by the SPDI Rules. Nevertheless, because they were developed during a period when artificial intelligence was not as widely used, they fall short in addressing issues pertaining to AI. The necessity to amend existing regulations to address AI-specific issues is becoming more pressing as AI becomes more prevalent in CCS and other industries. More robust rights to explanation for AI-based judgements, stronger guidelines for data reduction and storage limits, and improved consent methods for AI-related data processing are a few examples of such upgrades. Furthermore, the 2011 Rules may incorporate certain fundamental ideas from the GDPR.[iv] Furthermore, the EU’s AI Act, 2023,[v] may serve as a foundation for tighter regulations on the gathering, using, and disclosing of data by AI systems. Stronger permission procedures, increased openness over data usage, and harsher sanctions for data breaches are a few examples of this.
Secondly, the draft 2023 Act offers a further legislative chance to close the AI regulatory vacuum under the larger purview of the Digital India agenda. The draft 2023 Act has a mission to convert India into a digitally enabled society. This mandate might be utilised to cultivate a robust AI ecosystem in India that upholds individual rights and fosters innovation. The draft 2023 Act would, for instance, contain measures to support AI research and development, foster responsible AI use in the public and corporate sectors, and promote AI literacy and capacity building.
Thirdly, in order to keep up with the latest developments in AI integration with CCS, the 2003 Act has to be carefully amended and updated. The 2023 Act and the draft 2023 Digital India Act are two examples of new laws that are being introduced to regulate the data and digital space, but it is clearly necessary to integrate these legal frameworks with the 2003 Act.
Fourthly, while addressing this regulatory vacuum, it would be advantageous to use a cross-sectoral strategy because the regulatory issue presented by AI is not exclusive to any one area of law. To make sure they are ready for the era of artificial intelligence, this could entail updating and reviewing other pertinent laws and regulations that control competition (Competition Act, 2002),[vi] environmental protection (Environment Protection Act, 1986),[vii] and energy and electricity (2003 Act and its allied Rules and Regulations).[viii] A comprehensive strategy like this will guarantee that India’s legal system can successfully control the dangers and capitalise on the advantages of AI in CCS and other industries.
Fifthly, new laws requiring AI transparency may be introduced, requiring AI systems employed in CCS technologies to be built in a way that makes human comprehension of their decision-making processes possible. Using explain-ability methods like feature significance, partial dependency plots, or SHAP (SHapley Additive exPlanations) values may be necessary in this situation. Additionally, documentation outlining the system’s design, training procedure, and anticipated functioning may be required of AI system developers.
Sixthly, any new regulation must prioritise ethical issues. Ensuring that AI systems are created and deployed in a way that complies with ethical norms and social values is imperative. This is especially important when it comes to CCS since there is a lot of potential for harm to the environment and public health. A set of moral guidelines for the application of AI in CCS technologies, including responsibility, transparency, and justice, may be established by new law. It may also create systems, like ethical review boards, for the moral supervision of these technologies.
Seventhly, the employment sector may see major upheavals as a result of AI’s introduction into CCS technology. AI systems have the potential to replace human workers as they get more powerful. Therefore, new laws could be required to guarantee worker protection and to put in place sufficient mechanisms to assist people impacted by job displacement in reskilling and finding new employment.
Finally, international cooperation will be necessary to control the application of AI in CCS technology. The complexity and difficulties of this issue will require more than national legislation to be addressed, given the global nature of climate change and technology progress. Rather, structures for international law will have to be created. These frameworks might provide international guidelines for the application of AI in CCS technologies, ease technology and information exchange between nations, and provide dispute settlement procedures. It will be difficult to develop these international legal frameworks since there are many different interests and points of view involved. However, it will be crucial to ensure that the benefits of AI use in CCS technologies can be realized in an ethical, sustainable, and equitable way.
Consequently, new legislation, such as the EU’s AI Act, 2023,[ix] is clearly and urgently needed to govern the use of AI in CCS technologies, even though India’s present regulations may serve as a starting point. This law has to be comprehensive, flexible, and forward-thinking. It needs to handle a wide range of concerns, such as employment, ethics, transparency, data protection, and international cooperation.A legislative framework that can promote innovation and guarantee the ethical and efficient use of AI in our continuous efforts to address climate change is one of the major challenges, but there are also potential advantages.
[i] The Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practises and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011.
[ii] The Digital Personal Data Protection Act, No. 22, Acts of Parliament, 2023 (India).
[iii] Kaustubh Kumar, Digital India Act: What To Expect And What Not To?, Khurana & Khurana (Jul. 27, 2023), https://www.khuranaandkhurana.com/2023/07/27/digital-india-act-what-to-expect-and-what-not-to/.
[iv]Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation)  OJ L 119/1.
[v]EU AI Act: first regulation on artificial intelligence, European Parliament (Jun. 14, 2023), https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/20230601STO93804/eu-ai-act-first-regulation-on-artificial-intelligence.
[vi] The Competition Act, 2002, No. 12, Acts of Parliament, 2003 (India).
[vii] The Environment Protection Act, 1986, No. 29, Acts of Parliament, 1986 (India).
[viii] Supra note 10.
[ix]The European Union’s Artificial Intelligence Act – explained, World Economic Forum (Jun. 30, 2023), https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2023/06/european-union-ai-act-explained/.