AI in India: Is there a Need to be Concerned?

The rise of AI and automation has Bill Gates issuing hyperbolic warnings of an apocalypse. Elon Musk, Sam Altman and Stephen Hawking have followed Gates and warned the whole world of the eventual threats that AI will create.

Machine learning, which is nothing but a pre-mature module of AI has become mainstream, has delighted very few but anguished many. Education, e-commerce, IT and healthcare will soon become the first few sectors to implement full-fledged AI. The main threat posed by AI is that human jobs will be replaced by technology without creating replacements for these jobs. This in turn will destroy the very buying power of humans and cause anarchy in a world that already suffers from extreme levels of capitalism.

Researchers from the Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research lab (FAIR) recently made an unexpected discovery while trying to improve chatbots. These bots also known as “dialog agents” started creating their own language before this module was abandoned. Such developments are a serious concern.

It’s not just those jobs along with a future threat of occupational survival that worries India but the very fact that India will soon become the most populous country is of a greater concern. AI represents potentially the most disruptive leap in technology in decades and India was never ready for this change. It might make a select few richer but it will destroy more than 90 percent of its population.

Unlike the Industrial Revolution, the AI revolution is not a revolution that will benefit India or any country in any meaningful way. AI is destroying certain jobs like painters, mill-workers and typists and replacing them with other jobs (assembly-line workers, employees conversant with computers). Instead, it is going to cause a wide-scale destruction of jobs. AI transformation will result in unbelievable profits for the companies that develop AI and will make the billionaires even richer but at what cost? Countries like India, Brazil and China cannot survive this business model and in other countries in Europe, Scandinavia and Oceania it will create a huge divide, a divide that the world has never seen before, between the rich and the poor.

There are many professions that AI will not replace such as cooks, musicians, artists, bar-tenders, journalists, authors and counselors. India has enough talent and there is scope to make people more creative or rather unleash their creative side. However it’s important that such jobs are created and these professions are well-paid, so that humans continue to have the buying power that’s required to sustain human life on this planet. Wealth creation, itself will become a huge problem. The Indian government will not only have to subsidize most people’s lives and work; it will also have to compensate for the loss of individual tax revenue previously collected from employed individuals.

There are many opportunities for the usage of AI in India. Artificial intelligence will bring a lot of new age developments with respect to water retention and treatment, medicine, air purification, animal welfare, botanical preservation and recycling of natural resources. These are areas where AI and IOT (Internet of Things) will be beneficial for countless years to come in areas where humans did not invest much time due to their vested interests. Places such as zoos, botanical parks, gardens, reservoirs, lakes, rivers, natural habitats of birds, plants and animals, farms and plantations will benefit a lot from this technology.

India has to make a choice now. Its time this country chooses what’s right. They say “be careful what you wish for,” this is exactly what the Indian government needs to address.