AI As a Part Of Our Life

Background:

  • AI is embedded in the recommendations we get on our favourite streaming or shopping site; in GPS mapping technology; in the predictive text that completes our sentences when we try to send an email or complete a web search. And the more we use AI, the more data we generate, the smarter it gets.
  • In just the last decade, AI has evolved with unprecedented velocity.

Potentials:

  • AI has helped increase crop yields, raised business productivity, improved access to credit and made cancer detection faster and more precise.
  • It could contribute more than$15 trillion to the world economy by 2030, adding 14% to global GDP.
  • Google has identified over 2,600 use cases of “AI for good” worldwide.
  • A study published in Naturereviewing the impact of AI on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) finds that AI may act as an enabler on 134 of all SDG targets.

Concerns:

  • Yet, the study in Nature also finds that AI can actively hinder 59 — or 35% — of SDG targets. AI requires massive computational capacity, which means more power-hungry data centres — and a big carbon footprint. AI could compound digital exclusion.
  • Many desk jobs will be edged out by AI, such as accountants, financial traders and middle managers.
  • Without clear policies on reskilling workers, the promise of new opportunities will in fact create serious new inequalities. Investment is likely to shift to countries where AI-related work is already established widening gaps among and within countries. AI also presents serious data privacy concerns. 
  • We shape the algorithms and it is our dataAI operate on. In 2016, it took less than a day for Microsoft’s Twitter chatbot, “Tay”, to start spewing egregious racist content, based on the material it encountered.

Solutions:

  • Without ethical guard rails, AI will widen social and economic schisms, amplifying any innate biases.
  • Only a“whole of society” approach to AI governance will enable us to develop broad-based ethical principles, cultures and codes of conduct.
  • Given the global reach of AI, such a “whole of society” approach must rest on a “whole of world” approach. The UN Secretary-General’s Road map on Digital Cooperation is a good starting point.
  • This approach lays out the need for multi-stakeholder efforts on global cooperation.
  • UNESCO has developed a global, comprehensive standard-setting draft Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence to Member States for deliberation and adoption.
  • Many countries, including India, are cognisant of the opportunities and the risks, and are striving to strike the right balance between AI promotion and AI governance.
  • NITI Aayog’s Responsible AI for All strategy, the culmination of a year-long consultative process, is a case in point.
  • Chellenging part starts where principles meet reality that the ethical issues and conundrums arise in practice, and for which we must be prepared for deep, difficult, multi-stakeholder ethical reflection, analyses and resolve. Only then will AI provide humanity its full promise.