With Elections in At Least 83 Countries, Will 2024 Be the Year of AI Freak-Out?

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Why in News?

  • The year 2024 has been termed as the ultimate election year by a global magazine, with nearly half of the world's population participating.
  • However, amidst the conventional challenges, a new threat has emerged in the digital domain, fuelled by AI.
  • Therefore, it becomes imperative to analyse the potential pitfalls of hastily crafted regulations intended to combat AI-driven disinformation during this pivotal year.

Potential Drawbacks of Panic Regulatory Measures Pertaining to AI

  • Disinformation Surge: The Unintended Consequences of Resource Allocation
    • The proliferation of disinformation, exemplified by manipulated videos affecting political figures, poses a significant challenge.
      • For example, the case of Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader, Tarique Rahman, whose manipulated video showed him suggesting a toning down of support for Gaza’s bombing victims — a surefire way to lose votes in a Muslim-majority country.
      • Facebook’s owner Meta took its time to take the fake video down.
      • Abit more swiftness in catching the Deep fakery would have been a nice gesture to the Bangladeshi voter.
    • Meta's delayed response in taking down a fabricated video raises questions about the efficacy of content moderation.
    • The reduction of content moderation staff, a consequence of the massive layoffs in 2023, amplifies the challenge.
    • The pressure to prioritise interventions in more influential markets may leave voters in less prominent regions vulnerable to disinformation.
    • This means voters in much of the rest of the world, like in Bangladesh, may have to fend for themselves.
    • The volume of disinformation worldwide could surge overall precisely because of the pressure to catch disinformation coming from a few powerful governments.
  • The Growing Might of the Already Mighty: Concentration and Ethical Lapses
    • AI regulations, while well-intentioned, risk reinforcing industry concentration.
    • Requirements like watermarking (are not fool-proof) and red-teaming(expensive) exercises may inadvertently favour tech giants, as smaller companies face hurdles in compliance.
    • Such regulations will only serve to lock in the power of the already powerful by creating a barrier to entry or making it infeasible for start-ups.
    • This not only concentrates power but also raises concerns about ethical lapses, biases, and the consolidation of control over consequential decisions by a few dominant entities.
  • The Perils of Earnest Guidelines: Navigating Ethical Quagmires
    • The development of ethical frameworks and guidelines introduces its own set of challenges.
    • The question of whose ethics and values should inform these frameworks becomes pivotal in polarised times.
    • Divergent opinions on prioritising regulation based on risk levels add complexity, with some viewing AI risks as existential and others emphasizing more immediate concerns.
    • The absence of laws mandating audits of AI systems raises transparency concerns, leaving voluntary mechanisms susceptible to conflicts of interest.
    • Some believe AI’s risks are existential, while others believe that such dire warnings are distracting us from more immediate higher-likelihood risks.
    • In Indian context, members of PM’s Economic Advisory Council themselves have argued that even the idea of risk management is risky in the case of AI as it is non-linear, evolving, and unpredictably a complex adaptive system.

Possible Solutions for Policymakers to Navigate the Complexity of AI Regulatory Measures

  • Need to Tackle Democracy's Inherent Challenges Along with AI Threat
    • Before delving into the complexities of AI-related risks, it is crucial to recognise the persistent challenges democracy faces on a global scale.
    • Instances of political candidates being unjustly imprisoned, bomb threats targeting electoral processes, shutdowns of cell phone networks, etc., illustrate the vulnerability of democratic systems.
    • Additionally, the enduring practices of vote-buying and ballot-stuffing continue to mar the integrity of elections.
    • These issues, deeply ingrained in the democratic process, serve as a backdrop against which the novelty of AI threats must be considered.
  • Balance the Urgency of AI Risks with Sensible Regulation
    • The rush among regulators to regulate AI before elections in 2024, following the AI frenzy of 2023, highlights a cautionary stance.
    • While addressing the emerging threats posed by AI is imperative, hastily implemented regulations may inadvertently exacerbate the situation.
    • The potential for unintended consequences, coupled with the complexities of regulating a rapidly evolving technological landscape should be analysed and reconsidered.
    • It is crucial for well-intentioned regulators to appreciate the intricate balance required in managing AI risks without inadvertently creating new challenges or impeding democratic processes.
  • Plan for Future Challenges
    • There is a need for a forward-thinking approach by AI regulators and there is also a need to anticipate and formulate rules that not only address current risks but also proactively tackle the greater challenges that may emerge in the future.
    • In AI regulation, it is important to understand that technology evolves rapidly, and the regulatory framework must evolve accordingly.
    • By thinking several steps ahead, regulators can contribute to the resilience of democratic processes.
    • It will ensure that voters in elections beyond 2024 benefit from a regulatory environment that is adaptive, proactive, and effective.

Conclusion

  • While acknowledging the significance of addressing AI-related electoral risks, there is a need to avoid hasty regulatory measures.
  • Regulators are required to anticipate future risks, ensuring rules formulated today remain relevant in the elections beyond 2024.
  • Foresight and a measured approach are also necessary to strike a balance between addressing immediate concerns and avoiding unintended consequences in the complex landscape of AI and democracy.

Q1) Why do we need Artificial Intelligence?

The goal of Artificial intelligence is to create intelligent machines that can mimic human behaviour. We need AI for today's world to solve complex problems, make our lives more smoothly by automating routine work, saving manpower, and to perform many other tasks.

Q2) What is the limitation of AI in its current form? 

In the current stage of Artificial intelligence, one can only employ it for individual solutions to carry out certain AI-powered marketing tasks. There are numerous intelligent marketing solutions available, ranging from using AI to optimise and personalise your content to an AI tool that helps optimise paid advertising. However, as there is no universally applicable answer, using a variety of different tools to complete a variety of artificially intelligent activities can be costly, time-consuming, and messy.


Source:The Indian Express