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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 16 July 2024

Humans 1 - AI: 0 : Editorial on the need to identify fields where artificial intelligence needs to be harnessed

The real challenge for AI’s proponents, its opposers and consumers is to ensure that the technology remains a useful facilitator in human endeavours instead of replacing the latter altogether

The Editorial Board Published 24.06.24, 07:47 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File Photo

The times of late appear to have been tough for Artificial Intelligence and its many admirers. In the United States of America, McDonald’s was forced to remove an AI-powered, order-taking technology after customers received, among other strange servings, bacon-topped ice cream. Greater indignation has also been heaped with Machine being humbled by Man. A photographer won an award after an image taken by him, that of a stunning flamingo, beat photographic content that had been tweaked by algorithms. The defendants of AI — they are not a numerical minority — would argue that AI is an evolving technology and minor hiccups — errors — cannot be ruled out. Neither can these blips undermine AI’s potential. This line of reasoning is not without merit but the above-mentioned developments lay bare some signs that deserve scrutiny. For instance, it seems obvious that there are sharp divisions within society and polities — the European Union and China want to tame rogue AI through regulations — as far as the new technology is concerned. This, obviously, has to do with AI’s darker side, such as its potential to generate deep fakes and misinformation and unleash unemployment. The real challenge for AI’s proponents, its opposers and consumers is to ensure that the technology remains a useful facilitator in human endeavours instead of replacing the latter altogether. Perhaps identifying fields where AI’s potential needs to be harnessed by policy could be the way forward.

Art, undoubtedly, is one such field. Creativity does not sit well with technology that is incapab­le of subjective evaluation. In fact, AI-generated pho­tographic content reveals a fundamental eth­i­cal dilemma. Should AI-generated content, pho­tographs, for instance, be considered as art gi­v­en its problematic exploitation of human creativity?

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