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Mains Practice Questions

  • Q. “Artificial intelligence (AI) is important for the development of humanity in the near future.” Discuss the ethical implications that arise from the development and implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. (250 words)

    22 Oct, 2020 GS Paper 4 Theoretical Questions


    • Briefly explain the needs and advantages of Artificial Intelligence(AI) for humanity in the near future.
    • Discuss the ethical implications of AI technology.
    • In conclusion, give a way forward to deal with the ethical challenges.


    • Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to systems that display intelligent behaviour by analysing their environment and taking actions – with some degree of autonomy – to achieve specific goals.
    • AI somehow gets closer to our skin than other technologies’. Perhaps this is because the project of AI is to create machines that have a feature central to how we humans see ourselves, namely as feeling, thinking, intelligent beings.
    • The main purposes of an artificial intelligent agent probably involve sensing, modelling, planning and action, but current AI applications also include perception, text analysis, natural language processing (NLP), logical reasoning, game-playing, decision support systems, data analytics, predictive analytics, as well as autonomous vehicles and other forms of robotics.


    Ethical Implications in development and implementation of AI Technologies

    • Machines with Moral Status: It is not easy for machines to comply with ethical and moral standards while developing and implementing AI technologies. Even if ethical standards are set, they vary from society to society.
    • Unemployment and inequality: By 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.
    • Challenges to Humanity: Artificially intelligent bots are becoming better and better at modelling human conversation and relationships. While humans are limited in the attention and kindness that they can expend on another person, artificial bots can channel virtually unlimited resources into building relationships.
      • 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.
    • Could Be Racist and Discriminatory: Though artificial intelligence is capable of a speed and capacity of processing that’s far beyond that of humans, it cannot always be trusted to be fair and neutral.
      • We shouldn’t forget that AI systems are created by humans, who can be biased and judgemental. However, if used right, or if used by those who strive for social progress, AIcan become a catalyst for positive change.
    • Privacy and Security: The more powerful a technology becomes, the more can it be used for nefarious reasons as well as good. This applies not only to robots produced to replace human soldiers, or autonomous weapons, but to AI systems that can cause damage if used maliciously.
    • Evil Genies: It’s not just adversaries we have to worry about. What if artificial intelligence itself turned against us? This doesn't mean by turning "evil" in the way a human might, or the way AI disasters are depicted in Hollywood movies. Rather, we can imagine an advanced AI system as a "genie in a bottle" that can fulfill wishes, but with terrible unforeseen consequences.


    • Ethics is not only important in technology (Artificial Intelligence), but it should also be the foundation of any innovation. We cannot run the risk of building unethical tools.
    • It is essential that we equip our people with the education, training and support they need to take on the many jobs that will be created.
    • We also need to make AI responsible. Governments and businesses must work together to develop a code of ethics - tangible standards and best practices to develop and use intelligent machines.
    • The ethical issues that come with AI adoption are complex. The key will be to keep these issues in mind in order to analyze the broader societal issues at play.
      • Whether AI is good or bad can be examined from many different angles with no one theory or framework being the best. We need to keep learning and stay informed in order to make good decisions for our future.

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