Uploaded on July 6, 2023
HOW TO MAKE AI HUMANE
“Artificial Intelligence can revolutionise our economy and society; however, it should be regulated to make it humane,” observes DR MOHAMMED MANZOOR ALAM
French poet, playwright and novelist Victor Hugo once remarked, “You can resist an invading army; you cannot resist an idea whose time has come.” Today Artificial Intelligence (AI) is such an idea.
AI is no longer the domain of science fiction. It has become a reality thanks to profound technological advances. AI is bringing about a paradigm shift and cost savings in every sector. It has unleashed a “Fourth Industrial Revolution” that, as per PwC, will be contributing more than $15.7 trillion to the world economy by 2030.
However, market experts and policy makers are of the opinion that if its development and implementation are not regulated properly, it has the potential to create social injustices on an epic scale. Therefore, every country needs to come up with legislation to regulate AI’s development and implementation so that it could not become the bane for humanity.
What is AI?
According to Britannica.com, Artificial Intelligence is the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings. It is frequently applied to the project of developing systems with the intellectual processes that are characteristic of humans, such as the ability to reason, discover meaning, generalise, or learn from past experience.
Scientists haven’t yet developed any programmes that could “match human flexibility over wider domains.” However, there are areas, such as medical diagnosis, computer search engines, and voice or handwriting recognition, in which some programmes have become able to match human expertise.
Challenges of AI
Now the question is: why are we advocating for making AI humane and regulated? It’s because AI is going to impact almost every aspect of human life. It is going to be quite a challenge to the right to privacy, as never before, as personal data will increasingly become part of the AI matrix.
If AI is not regulated, it could further the gap between the rich and the poor, and render a large number of people jobless.
In the field of education, we are going to step into a digital classroom driven by Artificial Intelligence. The age of chalk and duster is over. In this regard, we could come face to face with issues like conflicts between students and teachers regarding privacy and power dynamics.
Explaining the risks of AI in the domain of law enforcement, openaccessgovernment.org raises a hypothetical question: who will be responsible for the wrongful arrest of a person on the basis of an AI model’s conclusion? The police officer who acted upon the AI’s prediction, or the entire department for not having a human-in-the-loop structure to vet their AI properly, or the compliance officer who signed the model off, or the developer who first deployed the AI model?
Later, the website rightly concludes that “if improperly handled, the complexity of AI opens up a bureaucratic nightmare that is rigged against those who may seek restitution or justice”.
As the World Economic Forum has predicted that Artificial Intelligence and machine learning (ML) will be adopted on a large scale by 2025, the world needs to brace itself to face the challenges it will create for the labour market.
Dealing with the Risks of AI
If we seek to make the most of AI without it becoming the bane for the humanity, we need to make sure that humans have to be at its core. Programme developers, AI experts and data scientists should make every effort to mitigate undesired biases, keep AI processes accountable, and ensure privacy.
Regulation is a Must
However, it’s not only the task of programme developers, AI experts and data scientists to make AI accountable, humane, and free from undesired biases. It is mainly the responsibility of the government of the day to see to it that instead of becoming a source of socio-economic growth and development, AI does not become a scourge of the 21st century.
Role of Islam
Islam encourages economic activities and wealth generation. However, it disapproves of concentration of wealth. Instead, it calls for a fair distribution of wealth.
Islam asks its followers to guard against greed and selfishness. It urges them to focus on the life after death. “… the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception.” (Surah Al Imran, 3:185)
Islam urges its followers to extend a helping hand to the poor, the underprivileged and the marginalised sections of the society. It inculcates a sense of fair play. It asks believers to treat people with generosity.
I would like to urge the legislators and policymakers to look at the teachings of Islam. I’m sure they will be surprised to know that Islam has answers to all the issues caused by human greed and selfishness.
Therefore, if legislators and policymakers work in conjunction with those responsible for developing and implementing Artificial Intelligence, and come up with regulations to make AI humane, and keep Islamic ethics and laws into consideration, we hope that AI will bring great benefits for the humanity.
(The writer is Chairman, Institute of Objective Studies, New Delhi)