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Tech Specialists Talk about New Book 'The Power of Future Machines', Highlight Critical AI Issues

By: Bhaswati Guha Majumder

Edited By: Pathikrit Sen Gupta


Last Updated: March 01, 2023, 09:25 IST

New Delhi, India

The launch of the book The Power of Future Machines. (Pic/News18)

The launch of the book The Power of Future Machines. (Pic/News18)

The book includes several aspects of AI and took over 2 years to complete as 100 authors from all over the world shared their views about how the technology will impact humans

A book, ‘The Power of Future Machines’, was launched in the Hindu College’s Sushila Devi Auditorium in Delhi on Tuesday by Infinity Foundation of India and Bharat Book Club.

At the event, the co-editors of the book, Rajiv Malhotra, TN Sudarshan, and Manogna Sastry were present along with guests and several authors including Lt Gen PJS Pannu, Major General (Retd) Lav Bikram Chand, Raj Kumar Sharma, as well as Col Manik Anand, PO (AS), Ministry of Defence.

The book includes nine chapters with topics like “The Winner of the Fourth Industrial Revolution Takes It All: India’s Role in the Battle for World Dominion",  “The Impact of AI on Freedom of Speech: Examining the Problem of Bias in Content Moderation", “Artificial Intelligence for National Security" and “AI-MING for a Theory of Everything."

The Book

It is a collection of expert essays that talks about the future impact of Artificial Intelligence (Al) in various fields. The experts engage and discuss the potential effects of Al in this book while sharing their unique perspectives with the readers.

The Power of Future Machines. (Image: rajivmalhotra.com)

Additionally, the essays talk about how Al will influence policymaking, both in specific fields of expertise and its impact on mankind as a whole.

Sastry, who is currently the Team Leader, Research, at Infinity Foundation India, told News18 that it took more than 2 years to complete this book, which is now available on Amazon. Meanwhile, Sudarshan, who is a computer scientist and specialised in AI, as well as related technologies, stated that about 100 authors, from India as well as abroad, shared their views through the essays included in the book.

On the back cover, Lt Gen PJS Pannu, PVSM, AVSM, VSM (Retd), Former Deputy Chief of Indian Integrated Defence Staff (Operations), who was present at the launch event, wrote: “Threats devoid of emotions in hu-machine (a combination of human and machine) would need careful responses and regulating mechanisms."

“Those who do not care to adapt shall be first recipients of such intimidation … the greed for speed will encounter a pushback by nature. Humans need new definitions of … hope, compassion, and happiness to program machines of the future," he added.

Focus Points

Authors and guests at book launch of The Power of Future Machines. (Pic/News18)

During the launch, several key guests shared their views on the usage of AI. While talking about the book, Major General (Retd) Lav Bikram Chand highlighted that if AI is not used responsibly, it can destroy any individual or even a nation. He said: “Even though it is enlightening, at the same time it is also very scary."

Malhotra, who is a researcher and computer scientist specialising in AI, dived deep into the concerning factors of such technological advancement.

One of those concerns highlighted by the tech expert was the “Digital Caste System".

He said: “You should stop thinking about the traditional caste system as a whole new caste system is coming which is based on new criteria of who controls the algorithms, who has privacy, who is being manipulated without even being conscious that they are being manipulated and who is being denied rights to access various things."

According to him, only a few people at the top of some companies control these algorithms. They set the criteria of what is true and false and what type of ideology to support.

While talking about military and defence, he said that not taking the AI weaponry strategic advantage seriously can be very costly at a time when India is “10 years behind China".

“There are a few things that are related to AI such as quantum computing which allows breaking all the security codes. So there is a race between the US and China to see who can do it for having an advantage even for a short window in which they can do a lot of mischiefs," he highlighted.

One particular concern has been raised during this event which is the bias of AI. Malhotra specifically talked about ChatGPT being biased and when he spoke to the people behind OpenAI, they said that “your culture can help it in training to make it ok".

While stating his argument, Malhotra said: “If you don’t train it, it will continue to have that bias, and if you train it, you are doing the free service of training their algorithm, making it smarter to know you and the more it knows you, the more it will know how to manipulate you."

The problem according to the tech expert is that India doesn’t have its own platforms such as an operating system, language model, search engine, and social media. So these gaps actually show that while Indians are more dependent on some other companies’ services, there is a risk of compromising the data of the citizens.

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    “The issues are very large and complex. So to take it forward we need more people talking about the risks and we will continue doing more work highlighting these issues," he noted.

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    first published:March 01, 2023, 03:00 IST
    last updated:March 01, 2023, 09:25 IST