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.
On the other hand, some of the leading scientists and thinkers have warned about 'technological singularity'. Technological singularity refers to the belief that ordinary humans will someday be overtaken by artificially intelligent machines or cognitively enhanced biological intelligence, or both.
It is a technology that takes in huge amounts of information from a specific domain and uses it to make a decision in the service of a specified goal.
For example, AI technology can be used to analyze loan repayment histories (information) of a person to decide whether to give an individual a loan or not (decision) so as to maximize the profits for the lender (goal).
In 2016, Google-run artificial intelligence (AI) programme "AlphaGo" defeated legendary player Lee Se-dol in Go - a complex Chinese board game that is considered the "quintessential unsolved problem" for machine intelligence.Though the AI has many benefits, it has sparked up a debate about its dangers to humanity.
AI machines are like other human beings in terms of their capacities for decision and action. They cannot be compared to other machines as the degree of independence that AI technologies have is much more complex.
AI is an attempt to reproduce super intelligent humans. It chooses one aspect of human beings, namely the intelligence, and artificially magnifies it to an extent that allows the machine to do things far better than humans can.
AI is associated with superlative memory, calculative power, decision-making capacity, high speeds of action, etc. These machines thus become super-beings, and a society filled with many super-beings is a recipe for disaster.AI machines are a mirror to our desire for immortality and the absence of human weaknesses.
Most importantly, the AI has not been used to get rid of poverty, to have a more equitable distribution of wealth, or to make people more content with what they have. Instead, they will primarily be dictated by profit for the companies that make them.
Healthcare and medicine become affordable and accessible with AI taking centre stage in telemedicine and quick diagnosis. Water and energy networks become accessible and widely usable when AI can mediate the use of different sources.
Unlike the Industrial Revolution and the computer revolution, the AI revolution is not taking certain jobs (artisans, personal assistants who use paper and typewriters) and replacing them with other jobs (assembly-line workers, personal assistants conversant with computers).
Instead, it is poised to bring about a wide-scale decimation of jobs - mostly lower-paying jobs, but some higher-paying ones, too. This transformation will result in enormous profits for the companies that develop AI, as well as for the companies that adopt it.
For example, imagine how much money a car-aggregators make if they remodel their business to userobots as drivers.
Thus, the world is facing two developments that cannot be placed together: enormous wealth concentrated in few hands and large numbers of people out of work.
Part of the solution lies in educating or retraining people in tasks that AI tools aren't good at. For example, artificial intelligence is not suited for jobs involving creativity, planning and "cross-domain" thinking.
A more promising solution is creating lower-paying jobs involving the "people skills" that AI lacks, such as social workers, bartenders etc. these professions require nuanced human interaction. But the question is how many such workers does a society really need?
The NITI Aayog has published an ambitious discussion paper on kick-starting the artificial intelligence (AI) ecosystem in India.
The paper talks about powering five sectors - agriculture, education, healthcare, smart cities/infrastructure and transport - with AI.
The discussion paper accepts that adoption of AI till date has been driven primarily from a commercial perspective.Further, it notes that technology disruptions like AI are once-in-a-generation phenomenon, and hence large-scale adoption strategies need to strike a balance between narrow definitions of financial impact and the greater good.
Data is one of the primary drivers of AI solutions, and thus appropriate handling of data, ensuring privacy and security is of prime importance. In order for India to ride the AI innovation wave, a robust data protection framework and intellectual property framework are required.
Despite the beneficial uses of AI, scientists and leading thinkers like Stephen Hawking, Nick Bostrom, and Elon Musk warn us about the dangers of AI and the coming technological singularity.
It is believed that the purely intelligent creatures, whether people or machines are bad for humanity.
On the other hand, AI, by itself, is not looking to destroy humanity. Whether we use AI to augment ourselves, create new species, or use it to destroy lives and what we've built is entirely in our hands - at least for now.
No matter how dangerous AI might be for humanity, it's clear that there's no slowing down the pace of progress. Regardless of how many deponents come out against AI, there's no way to stop its advancement.
Future discussions will help in directing AI for good rather than bad, but no matter what happens, there's certainly no stopping the wheels of progress as they slowly grind forward.
(Article by ClearIAS Team. ClearIAS.com is a popular website which helps IAS aspirants to prepare for UPSC Civil Services Exam online)
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