Artificial Intelligence : Benefits and Challenges – UPSC GS3

What is Artificial Intelligence?
Artificial intelligence is intelligence demonstrated by machines. Unlike the natural intelligence present in living things, the AI will develop its intelligence based on the data. In simple terms, the more we use AI, the more data we generate, the smarter AI gets.
AI is everywhere in today’s world. For example, using shopping sites, Using GPS mapping technology,  predicting texts in messages and emails, etc.
Benefits of AI:
  • Helped in increasing crop yield by analysing farm data and tackling labour challenges.
  • Helped raise business productivity, improved access to credit etc.
  • Made cancer detection faster and more precise by spotting even a subtle change in gene.
  • AI robots perform tasks typically carried out by low-income workers like self-service kiosks (replace cashiers), fruit-picking robots (replaced field workers), etc.
Global studies on AI:
  • A global study has predicted that AI can contribute more than $15 trillion to the world economy by 2030. This is an addition of 14% to global GDP.
  • A study published in Nature reviewed the impact of AI in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The study found that the AI can act as an enabler on 134 SDGs. That is 79% of all the SDGs.
  • Further, Google has identified over 2,600 use cases of “AI for good” worldwide.
The challenges with AI:
  • Can become uncontrolled :  For example, In 2016, it took less than a day for Microsoft’s Twitter chatbot, “Tay” to start spreading racist content based on Twitter messages.
  • A proper AI-based system requires a massive computational capacity, which means more data centres have to be created.
  • AI will increase digital exclusion. Global Investment likely to shift to countries where AI-related work is already established.
  • AI will reduce desk jobs, such as accountants, financial traders, and middle managers.
  • Concern of data privacy. The AI algorithm will improve only with access to more data. It will lead to the constant utilization of our digital footprints with or without our knowledge. Scandals like Cambridge Analytica are an example of such a violation of privacy.
Suggestions to improve AI:
  • Countries have to develop broad-based ethical principles, cultures, and codes of conduct in utilizing AI-based systems.
  • UNESCO developed a global, comprehensive standard-setting draft Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence to the Member States.
  • In India, NITI Aayog’s Responsible AI for All strategy aims to strike the right balance between AI promotion and AI governance. The Indian government has to adopt the strategy.
Agreeing to the common principles globally is the first step towards regulating AI. The next step would be implementing the principles in reality. Only then AI will provide full benefits to humanity.
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