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Artificial Intelligence and Significance of its Regulation

Context: According to some experts, there is an urgent need to regulate Artificial Intelligence System as it can behave in unpredictable and dangerous ways.

Artificial Intelligence and Significance of its Regulation Background

  • The Centre for AI Safety (CAIS), a not-for-profit based out of San Francisco, has issued a statement aimed at opening the discussion around possible risks arising out of artificial intelligence (AI).
  • According to CAIS, mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

  • AI is the branch of computer science concerned with developing machines that can complete tasks that typically require human intelligence. 
  • The goals of artificial intelligence include computer-enhanced learning, reasoning, and perception. 
  • Artificial intelligence is based on the principle that human intelligence can be defined in a way that a machine can easily mimic it and execute tasks, from the simplest to those that are even more complex.

Some Applications of AI

  • Healthcare: It aims to improve patient outcomes and reduce costs. Companies are applying machine learning to make better and faster medical diagnoses than humans.
    • Other AI applications include using online virtual health assistants and chatbots to help patients and healthcare customers find medical information, schedule appointments etc.
  • Business: Machine learning algorithms are being integrated into analytics and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms to uncover information on how to better serve customers.
  •  Education: In classrooms and training centers, AI-powered adaptive learning tailors’ educational content to each student’s needs, while plagiarism detection ensures academic integrity.
  • Agriculture: Farmers and scientists are using AI to monitor crops, predict yields and check pests. AI-enabled precision farming helps farmers make data-driven decisions so they can optimize irrigation, improve fertilization and reduce waste.
  • Security: Law enforcement agencies and cybersecurity firms can use AI for facial recognition, surveillance and threat detection. These technologies enhance public safety and combat cybercrime by identifying and neutralizing potential threats in real time.
  • Space Exploration: Scientists are already using AI for spacecraft navigation, satellite imaging, mission planning and identifying new astronomical phenomena.

Advantages and Disadvantages of AI

Advantages and Disadvantages of AI
Advantages and Disadvantages of AI

Why is Safety Important in AI Development?

  • Unpredictable nature: Some AI tools are so complicated that they are like a “black box.” This means that even the people who create them can’t fully understand how they work and how they come up with certain answers or decisions.
  • Errors in outcome: AI tools have already caused problems such as mistaken arrests due to Facial Recognition Software, unfair treatment due to biases built into AI systems.
  •   Inaccurate content: Chatbots are based on large language models like GPT-3 and 4 , thus creating content that may be inaccurate or use copyrighted material without permission.
  • Emergence of deepfakes: The emergence of easy-to-use AI tools that can also generate realistic-looking synthetic media known as deepfakes.
  • Misuse: AI systems can be purposefully programmed to cause death or destruction, either by the users themselves or through an attack on the system by an adversary.
  • Cyber security concerns: AI could potentially be hacked, enabling bad actors to interfere with energy, transportation, early warning or other crucial systems.
  • Associated emissions: Training a single AI system can emit over 250,000 pounds of carbon dioxide.  
  • Economic impact: AI is resulting in more automation, which will eliminate jobs in almost every field.

Why Global Regulation is a Challenge?

  • Lack of legal definition: To regulate AI well, we must define AI and understand anticipated AI risks and benefits.  Legally defining AI is important to identify what is subject to the law but AI technologies are still evolving, so it is hard to pin down a stable legal definition.
  • Weighing risk-benefits: Understanding the risks and benefits of AI is also important. Good regulations should maximize public benefits while minimizing risks.
    • However, AI applications are still emerging, so it is difficult to know or predict what future risks or benefits might be.
  • Adaptability: Lawmakers are often too slow to adapt to the rapidly changing technological environment. Without new laws, regulators have to use old laws to address new problems.

 Global Regulations for AI

  • European Union: The European Union (EU) is considering a new legal framework that aims to significantly bolster regulations on the development and use of artificial intelligence.
    • The proposed legislation, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act, focuses primarily on strengthening rules around data quality, transparency, human oversight and accountability.
    • It also aims to address ethical questions and implementation challenges in various sectors ranging from healthcare and education to finance and energy.
  • India: NITI Aayog has issued some guiding documents on AI issues such as the National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence and the Responsible AI for All report.
    • Emphasis is on social and economic inclusion, innovation, and trustworthiness.
  • United Kingdom:  It has outlined a light-touch approach, asking regulators in different sectors to apply existing regulations to AI.
    • Published a white paper outlining five principles companies should follow:
      • Safety
      • Security and robustness
      • Transparency
      •  Fairness
      •  Accountability and governance; and
      • Contestability and redress.
  • United States: The US has come out with a Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights (AIBoR), outlining the harms of AI to economic and civil rights and lays down five principles for mitigating these harms.
  • China: In 2022, China came out with some of the world’s first nationally binding regulations targeting specific types of algorithms and AI.
    • It enacted a law to regulate recommendation algorithms with a focus on how they disseminate information.

Way Forward

  • Chatbots can influence people’s opinion far greater than social media and companies that choose what data goes into their large language models (LLM) could shape societies in subtle and powerful ways.
  • There is an urgent need for the lawmakers to intervene and place safeguards to ensure the safety of AI systems especially with regard to combination of software licensing, and testing requirements for AI models.
  • Adoption of “precision regulation approach” can be a solution that shall establish rules to govern specific AI use cases as opposed to regulating overall AI development.
  • Moreover, AI systems must be transparent so that people know they are interacting with AI when they use that technology.
  • There needs to be clear guidelines around how AI can be used and shared.
  •  Incorporating safeguards to prevent the misuse of AI technologies, such as developing mechanisms for individuals to control how their data is collected and used is necessary.
  • Audit of AI systems should be done after a commonly accepted standard is formulated for an independent external audit team to review.
  • Policymakers, industry leaders, and civil society must collaborate to develop policies and practices that support the responsible use of AI technologies.

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