8. Artificial Intelligence (AI): Everything you need to know

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a buzz word these days. In this lesson, let’s see artificial intelligence in detail – its meaning, scope, potential risks, ethics etc.

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

  • Machines exhibit Artificial Intelligence is intelligence

  • It is a branch of computer science that deals with the creation of computers or machines as intelligent as human beings are.

  • John McCarthy coined this term was coined in 1956 at the Dartmouth conference, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • This is a simulation of human intelligence processes such as learning (the processing of information and rules for using the information), logic (using the rules to draw provisional or definitive conclusions), and self-correction by computers, particularly computer systems.
  • Today it has become an umbrella term that corroborates everything from robotic process automation to actual robotics.

  • Very recently it has become popular broadly and gained prominence due to its multifaceted application ranging from healthcare to military devices.

Is it possible for a computer to become completely Artificially Intelligent?

  • Work is being done in this arena however except some instances of computers playing games faster than the best human players no success has been achieved.

  • For Example: In May 1997, an IBM super-computer called Deep Blue defeated world chess champion Gary Kasparov in a chess match.

  • Another recent example of 2016 is, AlphaGo, a program driven by Google’s DeepMind AI, has won Korean Lee Sedol, one of Go’s most dominant players.

What is the philosophy and ethics of Artificial Intelligence?

  • AI’s research and development began with the intention of intelligence creation in human-related machinery. In this way, machinery can think and behave like human beings answer the big question.
  • Are they dangerous to humanity? How can we ensure that machines behave ethically and that they are used ethically?

  • Is artificial general intelligence probable? Can a machine decipher any problem that a human being can solve using intelligence? Or are there hard boundaries to what a machine can accomplish?

  • Can machinery function in precisely the same form as a human being as they have a conscience, awareness and mental states? Can a computer be sensed and thus warrant any rights? Could a computer inflict harm deliberately?

Examples of Artificially Intelligent Technologies

  • Robotic process automation: The method of automation requires the automated execution of a device or process. Robots can be programmed to perform big, repeatable tasks usually performed by humans and thus, due to their versatility and adaptability to evolving situations, it varies from IT automation.

  • Natural language processing (NLP) is the processing of human language and not computer language by a computer program. For Example, spam detection, which looks at the subject line and the text of an email and decides if it’s junk.

  • Pattern recognition is a branch of machine learning that focuses on identifying patterns in data.

  • Machine vision is the science of letting computers envision by the camera, analogue to digital conversion, and digital signals through collecting and processing visual details. This is sometimes related to human vision, but computer vision is not physically constrained and can be designed for simulation across walls. They are used in a range of applications from the identification of signatures to the analysis of medical images.

  • Machine learning: Field of study that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed.  Deep learning is a subset of machine learning and can be thought of as the automation of predictive analytics.

  • Robotics is a field of engineering focused on the design and manufacturing of robots. Robots are often used to perform tasks that are difficult for humans to perform or perform consistently.

Applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

  • Healthcare Sector: Machine learning is used to enhance patient outcomes and cost savings in the quickest, quicker and reliable diagnoses. IBM Watson and chatbots, for example, are two of these tools.

  • Business Sector: Robotic process automation is used to take care of highly repetitive processes that operate quicker and simpler than humans. In fact, machine learning algorithms are built into research and customer support applications. In order to provide customers with immediate service, chatbots are used on the websites. The outsourcing of work by academics and IT consultancies such as Gartner and Forrester has been been a subject of debate.

  • Education Sector: AI can automatically handle some of the educational procedures, like grading, rewarding points, etc. In fact, it will assess students at their own speed and respond to their needs. AI could adjust where students learn and how they perhaps even substitute some teachers.

  • Financial Sector: This may be used with applications like personal finance, gathering user details and delivering investment advice. Indeed, tech trades on Wall Street today rather than humans.

  • Legal Sector: Automation can lead to faster resolution of already pending cases by reducing the time taken while analyzing cases thus better use of time and more efficient processes.

  • Manufacturing sector: Nevertheless, more sophisticated exponential innovations like additive printing, which with the assistance of AI can revolutionize the overall supply chain ecosystem, have evolved for the production of robots.

  • Gaming – AI has a crucial role in strategic games such as chess, poker, tic-tac-toe, etc., where the machine can think of a large number of possible positions based on heuristic knowledge.

  • Speech Recognition – There are intelligent systems that are capable of hearing and grasping the language in terms of sentences and their meanings while human talks to it. It can handle different accents, slang words, noise in the background, change in human’s noise due to cold, etc.

  • Cyber Security: In the 20th conference on e-governance in India it was discussed that AI can provide more teeth to cybersecurity and must be explored.

What are the downsides and risks of Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

  • The decrease in demand for human labour due to machines and intelligent robots taking over the jobs in the manufacturing and the services sectors. For Example: In china some customs officers are now robots, In japan robots as housemaid is emerging trend.
  • Existential risks: Stephen Hawkins has once said “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. Once humans develop artificial intelligence, it will take off on its own and redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete and would be superseded”.

  • AI technologies falling into terrorist hands may unleash modern terror network including machine and therefore vulnerability of humans may magnify.

  • It may lead to moral degradation in society due to decreased human to human interactions.

  • During such a period of rapid and transformative change, there are many questions: are such technical developments followed by economic, social and cultural shifts that are similarly deep? Is technology going to kill employment quicker than work creation? Would states of the future be obligated to raise minimum uniform revenue?

  • How could education be redefined with artificial intelligence, big data, augmented reality and personalized learning pathways? Are conventional manufacturing plants under threat with the advent of additive manufacturing?

  • What will be the impact on skills required? After all these changes, people-to-people communication and socio-economic activities remain the same?

Possible areas for AI applications in Indian conditions

  • It can boost the Digital India Mission by helping in the big data analysis that is not possible without using AI.

  • Targeted delivery of services, schemes, and subsidy can be further fine-tuned.

  • Smart border surveillance and monitoring to enhance security infrastructure.

  • Weather models should be adaptive and therefore brace for potential mishaps such as flooding, drought, and ultimately tackle the agriculture crisis, farmers’ suicides, crop losses, etc.

  • By analyzing big data of road safety data and NCRB (National Crime Record Bureau) data for crimes, new policies can be formulated.

  • Disaster management can be faster and more accessible with the help of robots and intelligent machines.

  • In the counterinsurgency and patrolling operations, we often hear the loss of CRPF jawans which can be minimized by using the robotic army and lesser human personnel.

  • AI can be used to automate government processes, therefore, minimizing human interactions and maximizing transparency and accountability.

  • This may be used to research ancient literature on medicinal goods and thereby to modernize health treatment by combining revolution equipment with ancient technologies.

  • In the remotest areas where the last leg of governance is almost broken, AI can do the job. For Example: in the tribal areas and the hilly areas of the northeast.

Which is the nodal organization of the government for the research work on Artificial Intelligence (AI)?

  • Centre for artificial intelligence and robotics (CAIR), is the primary laboratory of DRDO for research and development in certain areas of defence. Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and is located in Bangalore. It is indulged in the Research & Development of high-quality Secure Communication, Command, and Control, and Intelligent Systems.

  • CAIR came into existence in 1986.

  • Projects: NETRA- software to intercept online communication, SECOS- Secure operating system.

What are the challenges India’s Artificial Intelligence Development is facing?

  • AI-based applications are mostly driven largely by the private sector and have been focused largely on consumer goods.

  • Public-private funding model which is a success in the United States, China, South Korea, and elsewhere may be considered good for India. Presently it is not present in India.

  • Our educational system is not updated to the modern technologies and is outdated in today’s economic environment as the nature of jobs shifts rapidly and skills become valuable and obsolete in a matter of years.

  • The debate of poverty vs. technology and where to spend the most is more likely to persist until the political class takes a higher interest in real issues than trivial ones.


It is foolish, even so, to argue that artificial intelligence is not the future and it is only time for machines to replace most jobs, despite these threats and challenges. This is not the end of the line for humanity and the past of the technical changes that have transformed society economically and politically.

In the early years there are bound to have some fears and challenges but so was the case with the French revolution, steam engines, industrial revolutions and most recently the computers. Nevertheless, there will be more opportunities in the fields not yet known and there will be more jobs to cater to human needs. In the case of India, Innefu is one such Artificial Intelligence (AI) based company which is still in its nascent phase but soon may challenge global companies and therefore can create AI-ecosystem in India.

Practice question:

  1. Is Artificial Intelligence good for countries like India? Elaborate your answer with valid arguments.
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