The global trend for layoffs at the major tech-giants is speculated to be related to artificial intelligence (AI). Recently, the Godfather of AI, Geoffrey Hinton, announced his resignation from Google to warn the world of the dangers of AI. The current market trends are in favor of AI technology. AI technology continues to advance at a rapid pace with billions invested in its development by numerous nations. As the fastest-growing economy, India will face a change in the rhythm of its growth due to the presence of AI.
EXISTENTIAL RISKS THAT AI BRINGS TO HUMANITY
AI has the potential to revolutionize industries and improve human life in many ways. However, AI poses significant risks if its growth is unregulated. One of the primary concerns with AI is the potential for unintended consequences, or “black box” effects. As AI systems become more complex and autonomous, it becomes increasingly difficult to understand their decision-making matrix and the factors that influence those decisions. Thus, it leads to speculation about a scenario where the AI systems would make decisions that are difficult or impossible for humans to understand or predict, possibly leading to unintended or undesirable outcomes.
As the philosopher Nick Bostrom has warned of possible human extinction as a consequence of developing technologies that can think for themselves in an unregulated manner. He argues that the development of advanced AI poses an existential risk to human safety and autonomy. He proposes that humans are set to building and refining a system that can potentially lead to the creation of a super-intelligent system that would be beyond human control. Even Geoffrey Hinton specifies that AI systems learn from each other within the smallest fraction of time. He speculates that humanity may have stepped into the minefield of an era where the systems it creates are more intelligent than humans.
DISCRIMINATORY RISKS THAT AI SYSTEMS POSE
Another concern with AI is the potential for bias and discrimination that is input in its primary neural mapping system at developmental stages. AI systems are only as unbiased as the data and algorithms that are used to train them. There is a risk that these systems will perpetuate existing biases and inequalities in society. For example, facial recognition technology is less accurate for people with darker skin tones. This inaccuracy could lead to discriminatory outcomes in law enforcement or hiring decisions. The creators of AI are in complete control of the bias the machine develops in its system programming, it may result in a bias in its further understanding and could lead to radicalization of the machine’s inherent thinking process.
Another example of “creators’ bias” can be observed in ChatGPT, which is a popular AI language model software.
The software would refuse to produce jokes in Muhammed, Lord Ram, or Jesus Christ; however, it does generate simple jokes on Lord Krishna. In a polytheist society like India, this may offend some communities or set of worshippers; while others may find this humor harmless. However, this simple example of AI’s bias as a reflection of its creators displays the need for regulation and ethics in the development of any AI system. Else the creators may influence the machine’s self-learning capability leading to an increase in the AI systems discriminatory views or actions.
THE BALANCE BETWEEN MACHINE-MADE OR HUMAN-MADE
As AI systems and technology advance, they pose a threat to employment and the economy. The World Economic Forum predicts that AI and automation could displace approximately 75 million jobs while creating 133 million new jobs. This situation could lead to significant economic disruptions and social unrest globally. The jobs that are heavily reliant on manual labor or routine tasks would be easily automated. It should be observed that the jobs created by AI and automation may be related to a higher skill level. Thus, global unemployment is rising due to the presence of AI or automation. Redundant employees may need to upskill themselves to find purposeful employment again.
The presence of AI Technology triggered a large number of layoffs in the Indian IT industry in 2022-23. An approximate 31% of jobs were lost in the IT industry globally. In addition, the Indian government has also declared its intention to develop an AI system. The Indian Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) had received a go-ahead to roll out the five-year programme. Its goal is to establish a Quantum Computing Applications Lab in the country, in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS). This programme should lead to new scientific discoveries by accelerating quantum computing-led research and development.
INDIAN YOUTH AND AI
To ensure the economic growth of the country and financial stability of the Indian youth in the developing world of AI, the Indian government has launched various skill development schemes. Primarily, “YUVAi- Youth for Unnati and Vikas with AI” was a school-level programme to introduce the concepts of AI to the Indian youth. Additionally, IIT-Madras scientists launched AI4Bharat to spur AI innovation in the country.
India aims to build a community of domain experts, policymakers, and academicians to collaborate on AI solutions. This community would configure AI to solve India specific problems. India aims to develop its own ethics and regulation policies for AI. India continues to amend its current policies on automation and internet to discourage malpractice and ensure a secure future for all.
AI TECHNOLOGY AS A SECURITY HAZARD
There is a high risk use of AI technology for malicious purposes, such as cyberattacks, espionage, or autonomous weapons. An increase in the autonomy of AI systems and their decision matrix warns of a dangerous future. AI technology in the wrong hands result in attacks or operations without human intervention or control. Such scenarios point to potentially catastrophic consequences.
With increasing dependence of humans on automation, Geoffrey Hinton speaks of the serious risks and dangers associated with AI systems. He actively accepts that AI systems differ from humans in terms of their method of learning and application of knowledge. He stresses the use of globally accepted policies as a preventive measure against AI related threats.
HOW SHOULD WE APPROACH THE ISSUE OF AI TECHNOLOGY?
Elon Musk states that AI technology poses a giant risk to the essential existence of human civilization. He propounds that earlier innovations led to car accidents, airplane crashes, or faulty drugs. He stressed these malfunctioning or misuse of other innovations were harmful to a set of individuals. Musk believes that he threat posed by AI technology malfunction would lead to harm to society as a whole.
To offset the danger posed by AI technology, humans must become aware in time of its dangers. Humans must regulate and control the development and deployment of AI minutely. Most experts on AI technology are in favor of developing ethical guidelines and regulations to ensure that AI systems. They approve of the development and use of AI in a way that benefits all of human society. However, there is also concern that overly restrictive regulations could stifle innovation and limit the potential benefits of AI.
To ensure the development and deployment of AI in a responsible manner beneficial to mankind, it is essential that policymakers, researchers, and the public come together to address these risks and dangers. As AI technology evolves, it is important that humans prioritize the safety and well-being of humanity above all else.
- Nick Bostrom, Existential Risks: Analyzing Human Extinction Scenarios and Related Hazards.” https://nickbostrom.com/existential/risks
- World Economic Forum, “The Future of Jobs Report 2018.” 2018, http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Future_of_Jobs_2018.pdf
- Elon Musk, “Artificial Intelligence and the Future.” Edge, 2015, https://www.independent.co.uk/tech/elon-musk-ai-human-civilisation-existential-risk-artificial-intelligence-creator-slow-down-tesla-a7845491.html
- Aditi Singh, The Indian Future is Artificially Intelligent April 2023 https://www.investindia.gov.in/team-india-blogs/indian-future-artificially-intelligent
- AI ‘godfather’ Geoffrey Hinton warns of dangers as he quits Google https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-65452940