Point Of View
By Shankhadeep Bhattacharya
Publication SAROS
July, 2023, Rs. 200.00

Validity of The AI Hysteria

Tamoghna Mitra

As the world today movestowards complete mechanisation it becomes more and more important to have the ‘complete information’ about what in reality is going on instead of panicking at every discovery man makes. With the advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) starts a new chapter of mankind, which understandably has led to this wide-spread consternation. Because as of now there is an exceptional level of uncertainty regarding the range of what an AI can or cannot. The *book “Ajantriker Korcha”[ in Bengali] highlights an insight into the world of Artificial Intelligence, making what it is understandable to all types of readers.

The book very neatly decomposes the advent of this technology in quartiles. First, who requires this technology? Second, who are making this technology? Third, how this technology works and finally what can be the consequences of such an advanced tech. The first part of the book explains how the giants of the modern-day internet work to monopolise their brands and throw a little brain teaser on how the reader might make out of what these conglomerates may use in the newly found tech. The final part of the book is what sets it apart: unlike most other books which have shown either of the two sides of AI, i.e., either it is a boon and will bring humanity the holy grail or it will steal everyone’s job (if one has watched too many apocalyptic films, AI might send a robot in the past to kill John Connor too). The author Shankhadeep Bhattacharya has provided a dual outlook to this problem. That AI has the capability to stretch far beyond the domain of human tasking and that is where AI acts as a boon. That should really not be a concern for the common folk, because the substitutability clause (AI would be used to substitute human labour) doesn't hold. The next argument is of public concern: what if instead of using the technology for welfare purposes and betterment of the society the tycoons of the software world use it for their age-old agenda of profit maximisation. There comes the problem of technical substitution. And if indeed that happens to some extent there would be large scale unemployment. This book is a brilliant read for everyone who is unsure of what this AI is; it will clear the understanding of the tech and will enlighten people about the ward and perils of it.

To this writer AI doesn’t pose a threat to anything. Firstly, if AI is used in all good purposes such as scientific, even humanitarian research to solve problems human minds are incapable of. There would be nothing better than that. This might lead humanity to another leap forward into a new age of enlightenment. This might sound a bit too utopic; so one shall consider the burning problem of what if the developers sell it for a fortune to the highest bidder. Well, they will turn into a monopoly and become richer than the Saudi king. The mass will however still be happy and rather bewildered to even think about having this kind of wealth. Nothing will upset the mass until someone starts playing a tug of war with their livelihood. If in turn AI is mis-utilised into substituting the human labour, there will be “large scale unemployment”. Now the scale is important. By 2030 the AI is likely to take away somewhere around 400 to 800 million jobs worldwide. That number of unemployed enraged and hungry people would most definitely be sufficient to cause a substantial rebellion world-wide to ‘get what they want’. In truth AI would be replacing a major part of the white collared moderately high salaried individuals who constitute the majority of the upper middle class.

Still AI cannot replace a human mind, the spontaneity of the human mind, the irrationality of the human mind which leads to new inventions to new thought processes. AI might possess an out-worldly IQ but it’s the EQ which makes a human human and runs the world. No matter how advanced an AI gets the EQ it produces would be nothing but an algorithm based on extensive data analysis.

With AI there comes a distinction of job roles. There is a lot of speculation about what jobs becomes menial for a human to do and what should be taken over by a machine. Well, the boundary has already been set. The human mind has come to realise the threshold of its capabilities and will act accordingly. AI should be used to trudge beyond the limits of the human brain and forward the society to a better future and if used otherwise humans will take care of it themselves.

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Vol 56, No. 31, Jan 28 - Feb 3, 2024