Artificial Intelligence and its Regulation

Context: Artificial Intelligence is the science of making machines perform tasks that require human intelligence. It allows machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs, and perform human-like tasks.

Applications of Artificial Intelligence

1. Education: Optimising learning for individuals

2. Smart cities: Improving safety, Enabling intelligent infrastructure, Optimising complex transportation hubs, Sustaining the environment

3. Applications for basic sciences & space research: Enabling extended & flexible space exploration. E.g., the development of autonomous spacecraft & smart habitats.

4. Applications in Healthcare

  • Enhanced drug discovery and development: AI in drug design- Predicting the 3D structure of target proteins, AI in pharmacology, AI in drug repurposing and drug screening. 
  • For patients: More personalized diagnosis, prognosis and therapy, Enhanced relationship with the care provider, Computer vision for diagnosis and surgery (AI-enabled medical imaging), and Intelligent personal health records. 

5. Robotics & AI-powered devices: Robots are being used extensively in healthcare to replace the human workforce, augment human abilities and assist human healthcare professionals. E.g., Robots for surgical procedures such as laparoscopic operations, Mitigating effects of disabilities. E.g., assisting the visually impaired with a Chatbot. 

6. Applications of AI in Agriculture

  • Crop yield prediction & price forecasts: Identify the output yield of crops and forecast prices for the next few weeks will help farmers obtain maximum profits.
  • Intelligent spraying: AI-based sensors can detect weed-affected areas and can precisely spray herbicides in the right region reducing the usage of herbicides.
  • Predictive insights: Insights on the right time to sow seeds for maximum productivity. Insights on the impacts created by the weather conditions.
  • Agriculture robots: Using autonomous robots for harvesting huge volumes of the crop at a higher volume and faster pace.
  • Crop & soil monitoring: Using AI, farmers can monitor crop health for diagnosing pests/soil defects, nutrient deficiencies in soil etc.
  • Disease diagnosis: Using AI farmers can preempt diseases in their crops. This will help increase the productivity of farming.

7. Applications of AI in national security. E.g., Detecting and responding to cyber threats, identifying vulnerabilities, and conducting cyber attacks.

Fear of AI 

  • The growth of AI technologies and their deployment has raised certain fears related to privacy and surveillance, job automation leading to loss of employment, and the possibility of a loss of control over AI resulting in existential risks for humanity. 
  • However, an important difference between humans and AI machines is the uniqueness and capability of the human mind known as Artificial general intelligence. This means humans can think about a problem from scratch and try to solve it, which the AI machines are presently not capable of. 

Need to regulate AI

There is a need for regulating AI due to several concerns, which include: 

  • Propagate bias: AI systems can perpetuate and even amplify biases into decision-making algorithms through machine learning if trained on biased data. 
  • Privacy concerns: AI systems can collect and process large amounts of personal data which raises concerns about privacy and data security. Additionally, AI can understand consumer preferences and can influence customer behaviour. 
  • Lack of transparency: Algorithms of AI can be so inordinately complex that even those who created the algorithm cannot thoroughly explain how the variables led to the resulting prediction. This opacity poses the risk of exclusion and discrimination by AI in decision-making. 
  • Loss of jobs: AI systems have the potential to automate tasks traditionally performed by humans, which could lead to job displacement and economic disruption. 
  • Security risks: AI can be used for malicious purposes, such as cyberattacks, especially by cybercriminals using the deep web, which is already unregulated. 
  • Ethical concerns: There is no legal accountability and responsibility arising out of the decisions made by AI. 
  • Technological rivalry and regulations: In the absence of regulations, intensifying rivalry between technological giants like the United States and China, may risk misuse of AI for malicious purposes.

Way Forward

Hence, AI should be regulated to ensure that the technology’s development is guided by human-centric principles. The solutions include: 

  • Simple regulatory framework: Government can create a simple regulatory framework that defines the several capabilities of AI and identify the ones that are more susceptible to misuse than the others to promote the responsible use of AI.
  • Ensure privacy protection: As data is the backbone of AI; businesses must learn to access data while ensuring its privacy, integrity and security. There is a need for laws to deploy AI-based systems to comply with Supreme Court requirements under the right to privacy judgment for specific use cases. E.g., European Union has implemented the General Data Protection Regulation to protect the privacy of individuals when their data is used by AI systems. 
  • Elimination of black-box approach: Mandatory explanation for AI systems that how a particular result was reached or details of the steps involved in the analysis will usher in transparency and review the data in each step to unearth biased results.
  • Creating oversight bodies: Governments can create agencies or committees to oversee the development and deployment of AI. These bodies can be responsible for ensuring compliance with regulations and monitoring the impact of AI on society.
  • Common International regulation of AI: Governments, together with other stakeholders, must work together to design guardrails for private-sector innovation and develop a common framework for international regulation of AI.
  • Reskilling of workers: Providing AI-related skill training to workers to remain relevant in the job market like expertise in programming, data analysis, and algorithm development. 

Read in Detail: What is Artificial Intelligence (AI) ?

Practise Question

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