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Safe and Ethical Artificial Intelligence Policy – Industrial Revolution 4.0, Tamil Nadu in High Gear?

The rise of powerful AI will be either the best or the worst thing ever to happen to humanity. We don’t yet know which.

Stephen Hawking

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to disrupt our world. With intelligent machines enabling high-level cognitive processes like thinking, perceiving, learning, problem solving and decision making, coupled with advances in data collection and aggregation, analytics and computer processing power, AI presents opportunities to complement and supplement human intelligence and enrich the way people live and work. India, being the fastest growing economy with the second largest population in the world, has a significant stake in the AI revolution. Recognising AI’s potential to transform economies and the need for India to strategise its approach

Thiruvalluvar, a celebrated Tamil poet and philosopher once said “Wisdom is to live in tune with the mode of the changing world”  Going by his wisdom, Tamil Nadu under the aegis of Tamil Nadu E-Governance Agency becomes the first state in India to tune in with the mode of  Fourth Industrial Revolution by releasing “Tamil Nadu Safe and Ethical Artificial Intelligence Policy”, in order to provide a road map for the state’s policy makers for the adoption of AI-based solutions. This Article will first lay down the existing regulation polices on AI all around the world and then this Article will discuss the Six-Dimensional TAM-DEF Framework for evaluation of AI-based systems as provided in the Tamil Nadu policy. The framework’s factors like transparency & audit, accountability & legal issues, misuse protection, digital divide & data deficit, ethics and fairness & equity, ensure that the evaluation is aligned to democratic values. In addition, the article will further elaborate the use of DEEP-MAX scorecard in the policy. DEEP-MAX provides a path to guide the roll-out of AI solutions. Further, the article will discuss the guidelines for government agencies provided by the policy, which can be used to procure AI-based solutions that adhere to the AI policy norms.


On the nineteenth of September, 2020 the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu proclaimed an ambitious Safe & Ethical Artificial Intelligence Policy which is a need with the developing technology to address the growing challenges and antecedently insolvable issues. The policy puts in recommendations on how the ethicality of AI programs can be assessed by government bodies. It conjointly also advocates for training government officials — including the legislation, executive and judiciary — on AI, and calls for an AI sandbox for testing, much like the block chain policy. The Tamil Nadu State’s policy for Safe & Ethical AI has been carefully devised, in consideration of all  the pros and cons of the technology, to provide a road map for the state’s policy makers for the adoption of AI-based solutions. This policy recommends the Six-Dimensional TAM-DEF Framework for evaluation of AI-based systems and DEEP- MAX scorecards for roll out solutions.

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The factors for the six dimensional framework are:

  • Transparency & audit, to determine that AI systems collaborating with humans in fields like finance, education, healthcare, law enforcement, and elderly care are answerable to their decisions, and are not a black box, by having high standards for explainability and auditing;
  • Accountability and legal issues, as accountability of a system that takes decisions autonomously is challenging;
  • Misuse protection, to balance innovation without excessive regulation while reducing any kind of data for potential misuse;
  • Digital divide & data deficit, where people and communities with access to data and better information benefit unjustifiably more than others who lack access, and even harm the unconnected;
  • Fairness and equity, to ascertain that the social fabric is not damaged and human labour is not commoditized.
  • Ethics is split into Privacy and Data Protection, and Human and Environmental Values. The AI systems must determine that highly granular information on humans remains private, and that social values like respect, dignity, fairness, kindness and compassion are upheld; it should also be clear if the system has a “preferential duty” towards vulnerable groups like children and the elderly.


The recommendation to use the DEEEP- MAX scorecard is to provide a path for guiding the roll-out of AI solutions. Further, the policy also provides guidelines for government agencies, so that they can procure AI-based solutions that adhere to the AI policy norms. The DEEP-MAX scorecard will evaluate an AI system on the following principles:

 a) Diversity, for how well the system is trained for diversity in race, religion, accent, etc;

b) Equity & Fairness, i.e., whether the system treats everyone fairly.

c) Ethics, i.e., how the system preserves values like dignity, respect, compassion, etc;

d) Privacy and Data protection;

e) Misuse protection;

 f) Audit & Transparency, to evaluate whether decisions can be explained; and

g) Cross-geography and Society, i.e., how well the AI system works across societies and geographies. The DEEP-MAX score has to be updated frequently as AI evolves upon use.


Section 7 of this policy discusses the guidelines which must be strictly adhered to and followed by all departments of Tamil Nadu and other organizations described in Section 4. AI would be promoted among all the applicable bodies such as Legislature, Executive and Judiciary. To do this, the following steps will be undertaken:

  • Expert groups will be formed to identify application opportunities, with workshops, conclaves and networking events. These groups will facilitate knowledge sharing, policy development, and dissemination of best practices, in addition to recognising significant contributors to the field.
  • Open AI challenges will be held for enthusiasts, students, teachers and start-up’s.
  • An AI Research Centre would be constituted.
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While discussing AI in India it is important to put in light various policies formulated across the world. A number of entities have stepped in to try to ameliorate the ambiguity of legal liability surrounding the ethical use of AI and to better manage political optics by advocating for ‘ethics by design’ in AI.

  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) adopted Principles on Artificial Intelligence[1] in May 2019 and one month later the G20 adopted human-centered AI principles guided by those outlined by the OECD[2].
  • A report “Artificial Intelligence and Robotics for Law Enforcement” has been published by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute’s (UNICRI), Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics, and Innovation Centre of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).
  •  Recommendation 3C, UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation roundtable on supporting global cooperation on artificial intelligence that is trustworthy, human-rights based, safe and sustainable and promotes peace.
  •  In 2019, the Beijing AI Principles were released by a multi-stakeholder coalition including the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence (BAAI), Peking University, Tsinghua University, Institute of Automation and Institute of Computing Technology in Chinese Academy of Sciences, and an AI industrial league involving firms like Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent.
  • The EU’s EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect in 2018, established sweeping privacy rules as well as requirements for how EU residents’ data can be used with AI & Analytics.
  • Singapore Government has incorporated AI & Analytics in different domains. Singapore has also released Asia’s first Model AI Governance Framework in 2019 and Second Edition in 2020. The two high-level guiding principles ensure that: 1) Decisions made by or with the assistance of AI are explainable, transparent and fair to consumers; and 2) Their AI solutions are human-centric. This in turn enhances trust, understanding, as well as acceptance of how AI & Analytics related decisions are made for the benefit of users.

All the above policies have been implemented all around the world because of growing need for an artificial intelligence policy as the concerns grow. There have been various discussion papers to formulate a policy by the government such as the NITI Aayog round of consultations released a discussion paper on National Strategy on Artificial Intelligence on its website on 4th June 2018. The Task Force’s Report, released on March 21st 2018, is a result of the combined expertise of members from different sectors and examines how AI will benefit India. It sheds light on the Task Force’s perception of AI, the sectors in which AI can be leveraged in India, the challenges endemic to India and certain ethical considerations. 

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In the ambit of technology and Law, Law has always been at the curve of the highway chasing the developments of technology and ends often issuing violation tickets. Law needs to provide a road map to technology with appropriate signals and speed breakers for its safe driving. This article has reviewed international as well as national status of artificial intelligence technology. The step taken by the Tamil Nadu Government to provide a path to the growing need of a policy in the field of AI needs to be adopted by all states and a national policy on the same needs to enacted.

[1] Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Principles on Artificial Intelligence (2019),

[2] OECD, Recommendation of the Council on Artificial Intelligence, OECD/LEGAL/0449, In June 2019, the G20 adopted human-centred AI Principles that draw from the OECD AI Principles.( India is one among G20 countries) Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, G20 Ministerial Statement on Trade and Digital Economy (2019),

Cite this article (The Bluebook 20th ed.)-

Balaji A. P. and Tanvi Kankaria, Safe and Ethical Artificial Intelligence Policy – Industrial Revolution 4.0, Tamil Nadu in High Gear?, Ex Gratia Law Journal, (September 29, 2020),

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Balaji A. P.
Student - School of Excellence in Law, The Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University.
Tanvi Kankaria
Student - School of Excellence in Law, The Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University.