Cautioning against misuse of tech such as AI, CJI says values paramount
Technology, especially one fostering quicker communication to a larger spectrum of audiences such as social media, and artificial intelligence (AI) which has permeated all sectors, should create affordances against misuse because human values and individual privacy are of paramount importance, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said in Chennai on Saturday (July 22).
Contending that “new technology cannot exist in a vacuum” and hence has to be made benign with safeguards for affable use, the CJI said technology should facilitate reliable use without causing any trepidation among the people about the possible breach of their personal liberty.
“Social media has allowed us to connect with people, removing barriers of age and nationality. But this new communication tool has led to new behaviour like online abuse and trolling. Likewise, AI contains the potential for misuse, mislead, threaten, or even bully individuals. Curbing its misuse for harmful purposes will be among the key challenges for you,” he said addressing the graduating students at the 60th convocation of IIT Madras.
Technology should not create fear in the minds of users through online abuse or harassment. An impact of AI recruitment tools is that it appeared to show discrimination or bias, he claimed.”Today, I want to leave you with two questions that I hope you will ask yourselves. What are the value your technology represents and what are its affordances?” Justice Chandrachud asked.
“When I say value, I do not mean the monetary worth of your ideas, innovations, or technology. I mean what principled values the technology represents and in particular, what are the values it furthers in the context you seek to deploy it,” he said.
“Keep in mind what values a particular AI represents and what affordances it creates,” the CJI said. Emphasising how technology could be put to good use, he said during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Supreme Court held 43 million virtual hearings and courts across the country too held similar virtual hearings to facilitate the lawyers and litigants to appear before the courts for disposal of cases, and thus paved the way for “inclusivity and access to justice,” he said.
Another instance was to conduct “tele law” facility, which benefitted in providing legal services to the people, particularly women and children. Going a step further, the apex court has now launched AI system for transcription of live proceedings on an experimental basis, the CJI said.
He said no technology can be neutral if deployed in a real-world context. Technological use has to fulfill and represent some human values. “Therefore values matter. Science and technology can empower us to secure our liberty, equality, and social justice,” he said and added that our Constitution laid down the basis for rights and liberties for growth.
A total of 2,571 students graduated during the 60th convocation and 453 doctorate degrees including 19 for joint degrees with foreign universities received their degree certificates. IIT Madras has become the first institution in the country to establish its international campus in Zanzibar, Tanzania, for four-year MS and two-year BS courses in data science and AI, said IIT-M Director V Kamakoti.
Pawan Goenka, chairperson, Board of Governors, IIT Madras, said the institute’s spending on research activities increased to Rs 1,000 crore now from about Rs 250 crore in the past.
(With agency inputs)