Dangers of AI

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    Syllabus: GS3/Developments in Science and Technology

    Context

    • 2023 was perceived by both industry leadership and the populace as one where artificial intelligence had a significant impact on social and economic relations

    About

    • This impact was visible due to the apparent success of large language models, a family of generative models, in solving complex tasks
    • The year started with Microsoft deciding to invest $10 billion in the OpenAI project, as its ChatGPT became the fastest-growing application
    • Google introduced its chatbot, Bard, Amazon introduced Bedrock, giving its customers access to large language models of its own called Titan

    Dangers of AI

    The benefits of AI are so large, from healthcare, defence and defence that the downsides are often ignored. 

    Do you know?
    – The AI safety letter, which was signed by more than 2,900 industry experts and academics, called for a six-month halt on training AI systems more powerful than GPT4 as AI could prove to be an existential threat.
    • Privacy: The data hunger of AI might have implications on both diluting privacy and on labour conditions of platform workers.
    • Surveillance: AI’s opaque workings might have impacts on democratic processes when AI systems are used in public-use cases like surveillance and policing.
      • AI, with its ability to drive face-recognition and compare huge data streams, can give governments 360- degree 24×7 profiles of all citizens, making dissent against authoritarian regimes more difficult.
    • Deep fakes: By cloning voices and faces, it can deliver authentic-seeming fake news, or scam people, or bypass security.
      • Eg. A lady in Gurugram was recently scammed for Rs 11 Lakh using deep fakes on Skype, scammers impersonating as Senior officials of CBI.
    • Perpetuates biases: Algorithms trained on current data may recommend that only males get STEM scholarships, and only upper-caste people get bank loans.
    • Nuclear threat: If AI is used to control nuclear missile systems, it could cause extinction, as some experts have warned.

    Mitigating the Dangers:

    • Ethical development and governance: Establishing ethical frameworks and principles for AI development and deployment is crucial to ensure responsible and beneficial advancement.
    • Transparency and accountability: AI systems should be transparent and accountable for their decisions, allowing for human oversight and intervention.
    • Education and awareness: Raising public awareness about the potential dangers of AI and educating citizens about their rights and responsibilities in the digital age is essential.
    • Collaboration and international cooperation: Addressing AI risks effectively requires global collaboration and coordinated efforts among governments, researchers, and the private sector.
      • Some have proposed the setting up of an “International Agency for Artificial Intelligence” (IAAI), much like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that was set up to regulate the uses of nuclear energy. 
    Global efforts to regulate AI:
    – Europe’s AI Act: It was passed in December 2023 and has concrete red lines like prohibiting arbitrary and real-time remote biometric identification in public spaces for law enforcement, bans emotion detection, etc.
    – In November 2023, the ‘Bletchley Declaration’ by AI Safety Summit called for,
    A. to work together in an inclusive manner to ensure human centric, trustworthy and responsible AI,
    B. AI that is safe, and supports the good of all through existing international fora and other relevant initiatives, and
    C. to promote cooperation to address the broad range of risks posed by AI.
    – In July 2023, the US government announced that it had persuaded the companies OpenAI, Microsoft, Amazon, Anthropic, Google, Meta, etc to abide by “voluntary rules” to “ensure their products are safe”. 

    Way Ahead

    • It is unlikely that the advancements in AI and research into mitigation and responsible usage will proceed at the same pace.
      • Hence, countries should acknowledge this and should develop safeguards fast enough to prevent catastrophic harm.
    • By acknowledging the potential dangers of AI and proactively taking steps to mitigate them, we can ensure that this transformative technology serves humanity and contributes to a safer, more equitable future.

    Source: IE