GS3: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.


What is the issue?

  • Artificial Intelligence-/AI-driven tech will become counterproductive if a legal framework is not devised to regulate it.


  • To make it simple – Artificial Intelligence is intelligence exhibited by machines.
  • It is a branch of computer science which deals with creating computers or machines as intelligent as human beings.
  • The term was coined in 1956 by John McCarthy at the Dartmouth conference, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • It is a simulation of human intelligence processes such as learning (the acquisition of information and rules for using the information), reasoning (using the rules to reach approximate or definite conclusions).
  • Further it supports self-correction by machines, especially computer systems.
  • Nowadays it has become an umbrella term which encompasses everything from robotic process automation to actual robotics.
  • Recently it has become widely popular and gained prominence due to its multifaceted application ranging from healthcare to military devices.
  • China and U.K. estimate that 26% and 10% of their GDPs respectively in 2030 will be sourced from AI­related activities and businesses.
  • There has been tremendous activity concerning AI policy positions and the development of an AI ecosystem in different countries over the last 18 to 24 months.
  • Infrastructural supply side interventions have been planned by various countries for creating a larger ecosystem of AI development.
  • Not just national governments, but even local city governments have become increasingly aware about the importance and potential of AI and have committed public investments.


Recent developments in AI

  • Recently, the Kerala police inducted a robot for police work.
  • Around the same time, Chennai got its second robot-themed restaurant.
  • Here, robots not only serve as waiters but also interact with customers in English and Tamil.
  • In Ahmedabad, a cardiologist performed the world’s first in-human telerobotic coronary intervention on a patient nearly 32 km away.
  • All these examples symbolise the arrival of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in everyday lives of human beings.

Global Efforts to regulate AI

  • Till recently there has been interest across the world to develop a law on smart technologies.
  • In the U.S., discussions are being taken up about regulation of AI.
  • Germany has come up with ethical rules for autonomous vehicles.
  • It stipulates that human life should always have priority over property or animal life.
  • China, Japan and Korea are following Germany in developing a law on self-driven cars.
  • India is yet to make a comprehensive policy and regulation of such path breaking technologies. Currently IT act governs the AI too.

Advantages of AI

  • No leisure time required
  • Lower error rate compared to humans. Better precision and accuracy. Eg: Robotic radio surgery
  • Better speed
  • Not affected by surrounding environment
  • Replace humans in repetitive, tedious tasks
  • Better user experience through predictive technology e.g. Help in predicting what a user will type, ask, search, and do. Can easily act as assistants and recommend actions.
  • Interact with humans for entertainment or a task. E.g. Sophia robot
  • Logical – devoid of emotions. Can make rational decisions with less or no mistakes.

Disadvantages of AI

  • Building trust: AI is all related to science and algorithms, which lies on the technical side. People who are completely unaware of these algorithms and technology that lies behind the working of Artificial intelligence find it difficult to understand its functioning.
  • The challenge here is the shortage of data science skills within humans to get maximum output from artificial intelligence.
  • Another challenge of artificial intelligence is that not all business owners or managers are willing to invest in it.
  • No technology or human is perfect. In case of software or hardware crashes, it is difficult to put a finger on what went wrong. On the other hand, tasks performed by humans can be traced.
  • Ever since AI made its way into our lives, we have a notion that all tasks, minute or a gigantic, can be managed by artificial intelligence. However, this can be true to a certain extent. But not all the tasks can be undertaken by AI.
  • AI could have serious issues with the expectations of the people around. People, in general, don’t have a detailed understanding of how AI works and hence they have extremely high expectations; some of which are not even possible.
  • It may lead to moral degradation in society due to decreased human to human interactions.

Challenges India’s Artificial Intelligence Development is facing

  • Lack of enabling data ecosystems
  • Low intensity of AI research
  • Inadequate availability of AI expertise, manpower and skilling opportunities
  • High resource cost and low awareness for adopting AI in business processes
  • Unclear privacy, security and ethical regulations
  • Unattractive Intellectual Property regime to incentivise research and adoption of AI.

India’s need in AI

  • Traffic accidents lead to about 400 deaths a day in India, 90% of which are caused by preventable human errors.
  • Autonomous vehicles that rely on AI can reduce this significantly, through smart warnings and preventive and defensive techniques.
  • Patients dying due to non-availability of specialised doctors can be prevented with AI reducing the distance between patients and doctors.
  • AI has several positive applications, as seen in the above examples.
  • AI systems have the capability to learn from experience and to perform autonomously for humans.
  • This also makes AI the most disruptive and self-transformative technology of the 21st century.
  • So, if AI is not regulated properly, it is bound to have unmanageable implications.
  • g. the consequence if electricity supply suddenly stops while a robot is performing a surgery and access to a doctor is lost
  • These questions have already confronted courts in the U.S. and Germany.
  • All countries, including India, need to be legally prepared to face such kind of disruptive technology.

The challenges involved

  • Predicting and analysing legal issues in regards with AI use and their solutions are not that simple.
  • E.g. an AI-based driverless car getting into an accident that causes harm to humans or damages property
  • In such cases, criminal law may face drastic challenges as the party to be held liable is disputable.
  • In India, NITI Aayog released a policy paper, ‘National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence’, in June 2018.
  • The paper considered the importance of AI in different sectors.
  • The Budget 2019 also proposed to launch a national programme on AI.
  • But notably, all these developments are taking place on the technological front.
  • No comprehensive legislation to regulate this growing industry has been formulated in India till date.

Way forward

  • The first need is to have a legal definition of AI in place.
  • It is essential to establish the legal personality of AI which means AI will have a bundle of rights and obligations, in the context of India’s criminal law jurisprudence.
  • Since AI is considered to be inanimate, a liability scheme that holds the producer or manufacturer of the product liable for harm must be considered.
  • Moreover, since privacy is a fundamental right, certain rules to regulate the usage of data possessed by an AI entity should be framed.
  • This should be a part of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018.
  • Incentivising creation of jobs that could constitute the new service industry
  • Recognition and standardisation of informal training institutions
  • Creation of open platforms for learning and financial incentives for re-skilling of employees
  • Lack of qualified faculty that poses a serious problem in the present scenario can be addressed through innovative initiatives like credit bearing MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).
  • Acceptability and adoption of these decentralised teaching mechanisms can be ensured through prescribed certification in collaboration with the private sector and educational institutions.
  • Additional investment and collaboration with the private sector and educational institutions in order to meet the market demand.

# Practice question

  1. Do you think that the Artificial Intelligence (AI) is poised to disrupt our society? Critically analyse the possible disadvantages of Artificial Intelligence in our daily lives. (250 words)
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