Left unattended and not embedded in the inevitable ‘human’ context, Artificial Intelligence can be dangerous and misleading, to say the least

Artificial Intelligence’ is the flavour of the season. There is a competitive pitch in making a bid for it, claiming expertise and establishing one’s felicity in this area. Everyone feels the need to establish a claim to the slice of the pie. It is understandable because that is how fashions go.

It is difficult to fight fashions because it establishes primacy, gains resources and tends to set the norm. ‘Artificial Intelligence’ somehow has come to denote a higher and upgraded level of existence, cognition and expertise. The point that needs to be paid attention is that artificial intelligence is not ‘auto-generative’. At best, it is based on certain felicity to combine and recombine elements and building blocks like codes. It cannot ‘think’, in a manner of speaking, in an ‘original manner’. Combining or recombining constituents depends upon the strength and potential of the algorithm on which it works or is constructed.

This makes it look ‘original’ when in reality, as noted above, it is only the outcome of various permutations and more essential building blocks. This by itself is an achievement. It also multiplies time by ‘abbreviating’ it.

It is quicker, crisper and does not necessarily need process specialists. What is more: it creates illusions of originality. The human element in the picture decides, basically when to combine, recombine, disaggregate or more.

The timing and the intensity of use are determined by human choice and judgment. There is no exception to this and is a huge step forward in isolating the area of application; in determining or defining the content.

The novelty of the method is great excitement and the ambience of an air-conditioned environment with machine iniquitousness lends a certain aura to it. It mesmerizes without necessarily enlightening. It makes it look magical without, in reality, there being no magic in it.

But there is enough to attract and retain resources. The people manning these computerized setups manage, on the whole, to draw greater attention and perhaps, at times get compensated better.

What computerization does not do, however, is a factor in the variables of personal learning, temperament, emotion, fatigue and feeling of the subject’s well-being or otherwise. This can be dangerous because ultimately ‘learning’ or ‘action’ depends on the extent of synergy between the competency required and the personality of the individual affected.

This is where the personalized element swings back into the scene and becomes a determining factor in how efficacious computerization can be. Add to it the vagaries of age, experience, temperament, and energy level of the individuals involved in the act. Each of these factors, singly or in combination will affect the rollout of the computerization process. and indeed the selection of the domain where artificial intelligence can hold sway effectively.

This is a limited enumeration of the elements that determine the match between the constituents of the problem and the elements of the run of artificial intelligence. Thus it is that the nature of the ‘programming’ gets affected. Indeed as ‘artificial intelligence’ gains ground ‘organic intelligence’ in the form of the human factor becomes a growing factor of programming. Indeed, some are inclined to argue that ultimately the human element becomes the dominant element and moves to the centre of action.

In several cases, it is arguable that because of the nature of “centre of stage” elements, the uniqueness of the situation takes on their dominant influence(s)/characteristic(s) and often evades pristine mathematical programming. The human factor evading predictability often impacts in a major way, the resource deployment and outcomes, also. Thus, it is that artificial intelligence or computerisation or digitalisation in that manner becomes what it was ‘never intended to be’. It is not able to run its full course. Indeed, the outcomes acquire their shape and timing. The managing of interventions becomes less programmable. Left unattended and not embedding it in the inevitable ‘human’ context can be dangerous and misleading, to say the least.

The present solution seems to be in recognising the need for allowing spaces for “temperament”; “competency”; “professionalism”; “far sightedness” and “literacy on organic elements of the scene”. The requires as much, if not more, of research and human attention as does “Artificial Intelligence”.

Combining it all is a challenge that is not being sufficiently recognized. Applied research will come in handy. Those in academic institutions will have to work with those in the field to frame the issue correctly. There is the obvious danger of commercial interests overtaking the fundamental ‘growth interests’ of the area. It is essential to recognize the strength of the “machine”; “mathematics”; and predictive validity”.

It would be dangerous to ignore the situation’s “unpredictability”“organic nature” and “temperament”. The ‘golden mean’ is the answer. All elements of the ‘golden mean’ need consideration. They also need support to grow and fructify according to their basic genre. Striking the balance between the two approaches may not be easy. But to evade it would be well-nigh impossible.

(The writer is a well-known management consultant of international repute. The views expressed are personal)