Karol Bagh | GS Foundation Course | 29 April, 11:30 AM Call Us
This just in:

State PCS

Daily Updates


Fostering Ethical AI

  • 21 Sep 2023
  • 10 min read

For Prelims: Fostering Ethical AI, Ethical Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), AI facial recognition, Generative AI. 

For Mains: Fostering Ethical AI, Need for establishing Ethical AI. 

Source: TH 

Why in News? 

Recently, some business leaders emphasized the Imperative of collaboration among governments, industry, and ecosystem players to develop Ethical Artificial Intelligence (AI). 

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? 

  • About: 
    • AI is the ability of a computer, or a robot controlled by a computer to do tasks that are usually done by humans because they require human intelligence and discernment. 
      • Although there is no AI that can perform the wide variety of tasks an ordinary human can do, some AI can match humans in specific tasks. 
  • Characteristics & Components: 
    • The ideal characteristic of AI is its ability to rationalize and take actions that have the best chance of achieving a specific goal. A subset of AI is Machine Learning (ML). 
      • ML is a method of teaching computers to learn from data, without being explicitly programmed. It involves using algorithms to analyze and draw insights from data, and then using those insights to make predictions or decisions. 
      • Deep Learning (DL) techniques enable this automatic learning through the absorption of huge amounts of unstructured data such as text, images, or video. 

What is Ethical AI? 

  • About: 
    • Ethical AI, also known as Moral or Responsible AI, refers to the development and deployment of AI systems in a manner that aligns with ethical principles, societal values, and human rights.  
    • It emphasizes the responsible use of AI technology to ensure that it benefits individuals, communities, and society as a whole, while minimizing potential harms and biases. 
  • Key Aspects of Ethical AI: 
    • Transparency and Explainability: AI systems should be designed and implemented in a way that their operations and decision-making processes are understandable and explainable to users and stakeholders. This promotes trust and accountability. 
    • Fairness and Bias Mitigation: Ethical AI aims to mitigate biases and ensure fairness in AI algorithms and models to prevent discrimination against certain individuals or groups based on factors like race, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. 
    • Privacy and Data Protection: Ethical AI upholds individuals' right to privacy and advocates for the secure and responsible handling of personal data, ensuring consent and compliance with relevant privacy laws and regulations. 
    • Accountability and Responsibility: Developers and organizations deploying AI systems should be accountable for the outcomes of their AI technologies. Clear lines of responsibility and mechanisms for addressing and rectifying errors or harmful impacts are essential. 
    • Robustness and Reliability: AI systems should be robust, reliable, and perform consistently across different situations and conditions. Measures should be in place to handle adversarial attempts to manipulate or subvert the AI system. 
    • Benefit to Humanity: AI should be developed and used to enhance human well-being, solve societal challenges, and contribute positively to society, economies, and the environment. 

What are the Ethical Concerns related to Artificial Intelligence? 

  • Risk of Unemployment:  
    • The hierarchy of labor is concerned primarily with automation. Robotics and AI companies are building intelligent machines that perform tasks typically carried out by low-income workers: self-service kiosks to replace cashiers, fruit-picking robots to replace field workers, etc. 
    • Moreover, the day is not far when many desk jobs will also be edged out by AI, such as accountants, financial traders, and middle managers. 
  • Exacerbating Inequalities:  
    • Using artificial intelligence, a company can drastically cut down on relying on the human workforce, and this means that revenues will go to fewer people. 
    • Consequently, individuals who have ownership in AI-driven companies will make all the money. Also, AI could compound digital exclusion. 
    • Further, investment is likely to shift to countries where AI-related work is already established, widening gaps among and within countries. 
  • Tech Addiction:  
    • Technological addiction is the new frontier of human dependency. AI has already become effective at directing human attention and triggering certain actions. 
    • When used right, this could evolve into an opportunity to nudge society towards more beneficial behavior. 
    • However, in the wrong hands, it could prove detrimental. 
  • Discriminating Robots:  
    • We shouldn’t forget that AI systems are created by humans, who can be biased and judgemental. 
    • It can lead to AI facial recognition and surveillance technology to discriminate against people of color and minorities. 
  • AI Turning against Humans:  
    • What if artificial intelligence itself turned against humans, imagine an AI system that is asked to eradicate cancer in the world.  
    • After a lot of computing, it spits out a formula that does, in fact, bring about the end of cancer – by killing everyone on the planet. 

What are the Global Standards for Artificial Intelligence Ethics? 

  • In 2021, the Recommendation on the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence was adopted by UNESCO. 
    • It aims to fundamentally shift the balance of power between people, and the businesses and governments developing AI. 
  • UNESCO members have agreed to use affirmative action to make sure that women and minority groups are fairly represented on AI design teams. 
  • The recommendation also underscores the importance of the proper management of data, privacy and access to information. 
  • It calls on member states to ensure that appropriate safeguards are devised for the processing of sensitive data and effective accountability and redress mechanisms are provided. 
  • The Recommendation takes a strong stance that 
    • AI systems should not be used for social scoring or mass surveillance purposes 
    • Attention must be paid to the psychological and cognitive impact that these systems can have on children. 
    • Member states should invest and promote not only digital, media and information literacy skills, but also socio-emotional and AI ethics skills. 
  • UNESCO is also in the process of developing tools to help assess the readiness in the implementation of the recommendations. 

Way Forward 

  • AI models should be designed in a way that allows for a clear understanding of their functioning and decision-making processes. 
  • AI models should be developed with a strong focus on data privacy and ensuring that individuals' sensitive information is handled appropriately and securely. 
  • There is a need for governance norms developed in collaboration with industries and stakeholders rather than arbitrary legislation, pointing to advanced thinking and ongoing discussions at the government level. 
  • There is a need for clarity regarding foundational models and data usage in AI systems.  
  • Ethical AI can be a transformative force, capable of empowering over a billion dreams and bridging the digital divide, not only in India but globally.  
  • AI and Generative AI must reach diverse populations, being accessible in various languages and regions.  

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs) 


Q. With the present state of development, Artificial Intelligence can effectively do which of the following? (2020)

  1. Bring down electricity consumption in industrial units 
  2. Create meaningful short stories and songs 
  3. Disease diagnosis 
  4. Text-to-Speech Conversion 
  5. Wireless transmission of electrical energy 

Select the correct answer using the code given below: 

(a) 1, 2, 3 and 5 only 
(b) 1, 3 and 4 only   
(c) 2, 4 and 5 only   
(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 

Ans: (b) 


Q. “The emergence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Digital Revolution) has initiated e-Governance as an integral part of government”. Discuss. (2020)

SMS Alerts
Share Page