Imagine a world where Artificial Intelligence (AI) transforms not only industries but also empowers every citizen to shape the future of their community.
A recent initiative by Odisha, an eastern Indian state, is a commendable example of how making AI inclusive for all citizens can elevate people-centric governance. On May 30, 2023, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched the 'Odisha for AI’ and 'AI for Youth' initiatives, in collaboration with Intel India. These initiatives aim to augment digital literacy of the masses and make them familiar with the next-generation cutting-edge technology.
'Odisha for AI' is a self-learning online program designed to raise public awareness about AI. It is open to all for free in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, and Puri and the rest of Odisha subsequently. It will cover topics such as what is AI, how it works, why it matters, what are its applications and implications, and how to get started with learning and using AI.
'AI for Youth' is a program for students (below 18) of 2,000 transformed schools and Odisha Adarsha Vidyalayas under the government’s 5T paradigm. It will provide them with an opportunity to learn about AI concepts and skills through interactive modules and hands-on projects. It will also inspire them to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) fields and become future problem-solvers and change-makers.
By launching these initiatives, the Odisha government has demonstrated how making AI accessible and inclusive for all can empower people with knowledge, skills, and confidence to participate in the AI revolution.
AI has the potential to solve complex problems, boost productivity, and improve our quality of life. However, it also brings ethical dilemmas, social impacts, and concerns about data privacy and human rights. Only recently, we heard some eminent votaries of AI sounding the warning bells on its potential horrors. If left unchecked, AI can be hazardous to human civilization. As Gray Scott, a futurist and AI expert, put it: “To understand the future of technology, we need to begin with one fundamental truth: Technology is natural.”
It is not a good idea to screech this fast moving AI super car to a halt. A prudent way is to use AI, especially the Generative AI models like ChatGPT responsibly and ethically. And this is possible when we make AI inclusive by engaging the vast swathes of our citizens. Inclusive AI is not just about algorithms, it’s about empowering every voice and creating an egalitarian world.
To ensure responsible and inclusive AI development, we need the active participation and benefit of all stakeholders. For example, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the United States has developed a framework to support collaboration among stakeholders to develop and maintain AI applications that are safe, secure, reliable, and trustworthy.
One of the ways to drive AI is to raise public awareness and education about AI, so that people can understand its potential and limitations, and engage with it in a meaningful and informed way. This can also foster a culture of curiosity, creativity, and collaboration among the citizens, especially the youth, who are the future leaders and innovators of our society.
However, making AI inclusive for all citizens is no small feat. It demands a collective effort from diverse stakeholders, including policymaking, developing and implementing comprehensive national strategies and policies on responsible AI. An exemplary initiative is India's National Strategy on Artificial Intelligence (NSAI) released by India’s planning think tank NITI Aayog in 2018. It highlights AI's potential to address societal challenges in agriculture, healthcare, education, and more.
Equally important is establishing and enforcing ethical principles and guidelines for AI's design, development, and deployment. These principles should be firmly rooted in the legal and regulatory context of the country. This is akin to building a sturdy foundation for a house—while the bricks and mortar of the walls and roof must be constructed, the house won't stand the test of time without strong foundational pillars.
The next course of action is encouraging innovation and collaboration in developing inclusive and beneficial AI applications. These applications should address the needs and challenges faced by diverse and vulnerable communities.
Picture a world where AI becomes the bridge that connects societies, empowering individuals from every corner to shape their destiny. Let us embark on a journey where innovation and collaboration bring forth transformative solutions, ushering in an era where AI serves as a catalyst for inclusivity and societal betterment. Together, we can create a future where no one is left behind—a future where AI becomes a powerful force for empowering humanity. It sounds like a great dream, but let's not forget to also give AI the ability to make good coffee so that we can all stay energized on this journey!
This blog was originally published in Priyadarshi Nanu Pany's LinkedIn account.