Who is afraid of AI? It will always be a slave rather than a master

There is no feeling or empathy in AI.  It can churn huge numbers and will be able to analyze, “think” and react to external inputs but has no wisdom and feelings. Till that happens humans will always have an upper hand.

Anil K. Rajvanshi Feb 21, 2024
Representational Photo

Hundreds of articles on the dangers of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for mankind have been written and it is being continuously debated in various forums. However, I feel that those fears are unfounded because of physical and metaphysical reasons.

The fears about AI that are expressed presently are that it will reduce jobs; disrupt the global workforce, create misinformation, amplify bias and blur the boundaries of reality and virtual reality. And most important fear expressed is that AI will create a sentient evil that might wipe out humanity eventually.

Fear of workforce reduction

Any new technology in the short run creates disruptions and havoc to the status quo. But with time the forces acting on it come in equilibrium and the upheavals die out. Similarly will happen in the case of job reduction and disruption in the global workforce that AI is supposed to bring.

AI will increase the workforce of a large number of code creators whose only job will be to produce software so that it can differentiate between fake and real. This is the biggest threat presently and it is quite possible that the rogue rulers will exploit it to their advantage.

Since the power of AI is huge hence very large number of code creators will be required for this. This will be for every form of human interaction whether voice, written word, or videos. Thus creating a whole battery of fake busters will provide jobs to a large number of people.

Similarly, the march towards automation affected by AI will require a whole battery of engineers who will look at the man-machine interface and will create a new paradigm of development where man-machine interaction will be more creative for human beings.

In companies that overly rely on robots to do most of the mundane work huge workforce is already employed to program them, trouble shoot and even improve their performance. Though the greed of big companies will make them go for force reduction to increase their profits, for the smooth running of systems large number of code writers and hardware engineers will be required.

We should always remember that AI is a product of human ingenuity. We have created the power of computers to such an extent that they can do a huge number of calculations in a fraction of a second and predict trends that are nearly impossible to do by the human mind. AI is expanding so rapidly that it is trying to learn the next steps rapidly. That is the reason why we are afraid that the AI will make us redundant.    

Nevertheless, there will again be a whole battery of engineers and scientists who will be able to analyze the huge data efficiently and show the prediction. Thus weather predictions, changes in conditions of the earth, and large-scale human data analysis can all be done effectively with the aid of AI. However, which course mankind will take based upon these predictions can only come with the wisdom of human beings and not by AI.

AI as a sentient being

And now we come to the biggest fear of AI creating a sentient evil capable of eliminating mankind - just like the computer HAL tried to do in the movie 2001 Space Odyssey. A sentient being is defined (as per Merriam Webster Dictionary) as an entity responsive to sensory inputs. So some feel that it is becoming “live” and with time it will evolve to become humanlike. But these fears are unfounded for the following reasons.

There is no feeling or empathy in AI.  It can churn huge numbers and will be able to analyze, “think” and react to external inputs but has no wisdom and feelings. Till that happens humans will always have an upper hand. Thus AI almost seems to be like the 'rakshas' (demons) of old mythologies who were powerful forces without any feelings and empathy.

Today AI (via engines like ChatGPT, Google AI, etc.) is mostly about humans asking for information on various topics and without the inputs of human wisdom the information can be very misleading. There are guestimates that 40 per cent of the information provided by AI is false

AI is based on processors and servers which are attached by wires and optical fibers to the towers, secondary processors, etc. and hence are limited by those constraints. A real sentient being like a human brain is not attached by any physical means. The hallmark of evolution is movement and speed of movement. Any sentient being not able to move can be destroyed in no time since it cannot 'run'!

Our present science is very reductionist. We only look at small building blocks. Nature has evolved through billions of years and has created a whole network of knowledge space (KS) or the Universal Consciousness to which each living being is attached without the wires. It is this Universal Consciousness ecosystem that is missing from AI and till that time it will always be a slave rather than a master of human beings.

(The writer, an IIT and US-educated engineer,  a 2022 Padma Shri award winner, is Director, Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute, Phaltan, Maharashtra.)    

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