[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] A [/yt_dropcap]rtificial intelligence (AI) is gaining high importance among key executives across the globe in almost every end use industry. AI technologies especially machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, speech recognition, and voice recognition are intended to provide machines with human like intelligence and features such as reasoning and learning. In fact, AI technology can perform certain tasks better than human being such as processing huge chunks of database efficiently and accurately.
Industries such as healthcare, government service, IT and telecommunication, media and advertising, BFSI, retail, travel, tourism, and hospitality create a huge amount of data base which is difficult to maintain by the conventional computing system. However with the introduction of artificial intelligence in these industries processing and managing of database became much efficient and rapid.
Key Industries Impacted by Artificial Intelligence Technology
Manufacturing is one of the first industry to take advantage of emerging AI technology, especially in the manufacturing process where robots were used to assemble and package products. Moreover, with the advent of technology, advanced robots will be able to perform complex operation in the manufacturing process such as assembling and testing of smart homes, smart city, vehicles, and electronics.
Healthcare is another industry largely impacted by the deployment of AI technology. In fact, AI in healthcare industry would be the key area of contribution towards the ‘Fourth Industry Revolution’. AI will provide physicians with medical information to take better decisions and make effective treatment plans. In the field of pharmacy, deep learning technology will help in analysing the effect of drugs on patient with accuracy and in less time as compared to the traditional method which is time consuming. Key players offering AI technology are either in the process of developing AI or have already launched AI technology and solutions in the healthcare field. For instance, IBM’s ‘Watson for Oncology’ and ‘Medical Sieve’ is already in market and are key AI technologies in healthcare, whereas Google has ‘Google Deep mind Health’ project that provides medical data to physicians through data mining. Some of the start-up and established companies that are contributing towards the growth of AI technology in healthcare field are IBM, Google, iCarbonX, Ayasdi, Babylon Health, and Flatiron Health among others.
Huge investment by start-ups and key players, ability of AI to perform complex medical operation is driving the AI market in the healthcare field. As per market research report published by ‘Markets and Markets’ on ‘Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare Market’ the AI market in healthcare is expected to grow from USD 667.1 million in 2016 to USD 7,988.8 million in 2022 at a CAGR of 52.68%.
Transportation and automotive industries have also gained a lot of hype in the area of artificial intelligence owing to the rise in smart transport and automated cars across the globe. Artificial Intelligence technology will acts as an agent of change in transforming the future of automotive industry. Professional drivers will be replaced by smart cars, and public transport will become driverless thus saving ample amount of cost and time. For instance, recently ‘The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) of Dubai have announced driverless cars in Dubai by 2030. Through driverless car concept the government of Dubai is planning to make 25% of road transportation autonomous, which will increase productivity by 13%, reduce cost by 44%, and decrease yearly accidents rate by 12%.
Artificial intelligence has endless opportunity in the retail industry, and its growth can be attributed to the developing ecommerce websites. In ecommerce artificial intelligence helps in giving personalised services by understanding taste and preference of customers. Moreover, retailers are also providing visual search option to its customers so as to improve their customer’s online shopping experience. Neiman Marcus, Urban outfitters, and Asos are some of the retailers providing visual search option to their customers. Moreover, AI powered chatbots are also gaining high importance in the retail industry. Currently, chatbots are the hottest trend in retail industry that are not only automating the purchase process but are also offering personalised recommender services to its customers. Retailers are also using AI technologies especially machine learning to understand the behaviour of their customers based on their data available on social networking sites. Artifacia, Bloomreach, Infinite Analytics, Layer 6 AI, Mona, and Optoro are some of the players offering AI in retail industry.
Banking, Financial services, and Insurance (BFSI) are another industries benefited by AI technology. BFSI industry deals with a huge amount of customer’s personal data, so it is important to ensure security of such confidential data. AI can be applied in numerous applications in banking service such as customer service, back office operation, product delivery, compliance, marketing, and risk management. Furthermore, in financial service automated financial planners and advisors often named ‘robo advisors’ support users in making financial decisions and recommending them for buying stocks and bonds. Smart wallet is another key application of AI in financial industry, these wallets understand the users spending habit and send alert notification to them whenever user is overspending.
Lastly, the bottom line is increasing investment in AI has become business necessity across key industries. AI has not only created virtual workforce but has also enhanced the ability and skill of existing one. However, we also need to understand that substantial part of fiscal growth from artificial intelligence will not come from substituting prevailing workforce and investment, but in aiding them to use more effectively and efficiently.
Asia Needs a Region-Wide Approach to Harness Fintech’s Full Potential
Asia’s policy makers should strengthen cooperation to harness the potential of new financial technologies for inclusive growth. At the same time, they should work together to ensure they can respond better to the challenges posed by fintech.
New technologies such as mobile banking, big data, and peer-to-peer transfer networks are already extending the reach of financial services to those who were previously unbanked or out of reach, boosting incomes and living standards. Yet, fintech also comes with the risk of cyber fraud, data security, and privacy breaches. Disintermediation of fintech services or concentration of services among a few providers could also pose a risk to financial stability.
These and other issues were discussed at the High-Level Policy Dialogue on Regional Cooperation to Support Innovation, Inclusion, and Stability in Asia, organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Bank Indonesia, and the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO).
The panel comprised Ms. Neav Chanthana, Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia; Mr. Diwa Guinigundo, Deputy Governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; Ms. Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and Chief Executive Officer of Women’s World Banking; Mr. Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore; Mr. Takehiko Nakao, President of ADB; Mr. Abdul Rasheed, Deputy Governor, Bank Negara Malaysia, and Mr. Veerathai Santiprabhob, Governor of the Bank of Thailand. Mr. Mirza Adityaswara, Senior Deputy Governor of Bank Indonesia, gave the opening remarks at the conference and Ms. Junhong Chang, Director of AMRO, gave the welcome remarks.
“Rapidly spreading new financial technologies hold huge promise for financial inclusion,” said Mr. Nakao. “We must foster an enabling environment for the technologies to flourish and strengthen regional cooperation to build harmonized regulatory standards and surveillance systems to prevent international money laundering, terrorism financing, and cybercrimes.”
“Technology is an enabler that weaves our economies and financial systems together, transmitting benefits but also risks across borders,” said Ms. Chang. “Given East Asia’s rapid economic growth, understanding and managing the impact of technology in our financial systems is essential for policymakers to maintain financial stability.”
“Asia, including Indonesia, is an ideal place for fintech to flourish,” said Mr. Adityaswara. “In Indonesia’s case, there are more than a quarter of a billion people living on thousand of islands, waiting to be integrated with the new technology; young people eager to enter the future digital world; more than fifty million small and medium-sized enterprises which can’t wait to get on board with e-commerce; a new society driven by a dynamic, democratic middle class which views the digital economy as something as inevitable as evolution.”
Despite Asia’s high economic growth in recent years, the financial sector is still under-developed in some countries. Fewer than 27% of adults in developing Asia have a bank account, well below the global median of 38%. Meanwhile, just 84% of firms have a checking or savings account, on a par with Africa but below Latin America’s 89% and emerging Europe’s 92%.
Financial inclusion could be increased through policies to promote financial innovation, by boosting financial literacy, and by expanding and upgrading digital infrastructure and networks. Regulations to prevent illegal activities, enhance cyber security, and protect consumers’ rights and privacy, would also build confidence in new financial technologies.
Cutting-edge tech a ‘double-edged sword for developing countries’
The latest technological advances, from artificial intelligence to electric cars, can be a “double-edged sword”, says the latest UN World Economic and Social Survey (WESS 2018), released on Monday.
The over-riding message of the report is that appropriate, effective policies are essential, if so-called “frontier technologies” are to change the world for the better, helping us to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and addressing climate change: without good policy, they risk exacerbating existing inequality.
Amongst several positive indicators, WESS 2018 found that the energy sector is becoming more sustainable, with renewable energy technology and efficient energy storage systems giving countries the opportunity to “leapfrog” existing, often fossil fuel-based solutions.
The wellbeing of the most vulnerable is being enhanced through greater access to medicines, and millions in developing countries now have access to low-cost financial services via their mobile phones.
Referring to the report, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that “good health and longevity, prosperity for all and environmental sustainability are within our reach if we harness the full power of these innovations.”
However, the UN chief warned of the importance of properly managing the use of new technologies, to ensure there is a net benefit to society: the report demonstrates that unmanaged implementation of developments such as artificial intelligence and automation can improve efficiency but also destroy quality jobs.
“Clearly, we need policies that can ensure frontier technologies are not only commercially viable but also equitable and ethical. This will require a rigorous, objective and transparent ongoing assessment, involving all stakeholders,” Mr. Guterres added
The Survey says that proactive and effective policies can help countries to avoid pitfalls and minimize the economic and social costs of technology-related disruption. It calls for regulation and institutions that promote innovation, and the use of new technologies for sustainable development.
With digital technology frequently crossing borders, international cooperation, the Survey shows, is needed to bring about harmonized standards, greater flexibility in the area of intellectual property rights and ensuring that the market does not remain dominated by a tiny number of extremely powerful companies.
Here, the UN has a vital role to play, by providing an objective assessment of the impact that emerging technologies have on sustainable development outcomes – including their effects on employment, wages and income distribution – and bringing together people, business and organizations from across the world to build strong consensus-led agreements.
Our Trust Deficit with Artifical Intelligence Has Only Just Started
“We suffer from a bad case of trust-deficit disorder,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his recent General Assembly speech. His diagnosis is right, and his focus on new technological developments underscores their crucial role shaping the future global political order. Indeed, artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to deepen the trust-deficit across the world.
The Secretary-General, echoing his recently released Strategy on New Technologies, repeatedly referenced rapidly developing fields of technology in his speech, rightly calling for greater cooperation between countries and among stakeholders, as well as for more diversity in the technology sector. His trust-deficit diagnosis reflects the urgent need to build a new social license and develop incentives to ensure that technological innovation, in particular AI, is deployed safely and aligned with the public interest.
However, AI-driven technologies do not easily fit into today’s models of international cooperation, and will in fact tend to undermine rather than enforce global governance mechanisms. Looking at three trends in AI, the UN faces an enormous set of interrelated challenges.
AI and Reality
First, AI is a potentially dominating technology whose powerful – both positive and negative –implications will be increasingly difficult to isolate and contain. Engineers design learning algorithms with a specific set of predictive and optimizing functions that can be used to both empower or control populations. Without sophisticated fail-safe protocols, the potential for misuse or weaponization of AI is pervasive and can be difficult to anticipate.
Take Deepfake as an example. Sophisticated AI programs can now manipulate sounds, images and videos, creating impersonations that are often impossible to distinguish from the original. Deep-learning algorithms can, with surprising accuracy, read human lips, synthetize speech, and to some extent simulate facial expressions. Once released outside of the lab, such simulations could easily be misused with wide-ranging impacts (indeed, this is already happening at a low level). On the eve of an election, Deepfake videos could falsely portray public officials being involved in money-laundering or human rights abuses; public panic could be sowed by videos warning of non-existent epidemics or cyberattacks; forged incidents could potentially lead to international escalation.
The capacity of a range of actors to influence public opinion with misleading simulations could have powerful long-term implications for the UN’s role in peace and security. By eroding the sense of trust and truth between citizens and the state—and indeed amongst states—truly fake news could be deeply corrosive to our global governance system.
AI Reading Us
Second, AI is already connecting and converging with a range of other technologies—including biotech—with significant implications for global security. AI systems around the world are trained to predict various aspects of our daily lives by making sense of massive data sets, such as cities’ traffic patterns, financial markets, consumer behaviour trend data, health records and even our genomes.
These AI technologies are increasingly able to harness our behavioural and biological data in innovative and often manipulative ways, with implications for all of us. For example, the My Friend Cayla smart doll sends voice and emotion data of the children who play with it to the cloud, which led to a US Federal Trade Commission complaint and its ban in Germany. In the US, emotional analysis is already being used in the courtroom to detect remorse in deposition videos. It could soon be part of job interviews to assess candidates’ responses and their fitness for a job.
The ability of AI to intrude upon—and potentially control—private human behaviour has direct implications for the UN’s human rights agenda. New forms of social and bio-control could in fact require a reimagining of the framework currently in place to monitor and implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and will certainly require the multilateral system to better anticipate and understand this quickly emerging field.
AI as a Conflict Theatre
Finally, the ability of AI-driven technologies to influence large populations is of such immediate and overriding value that it is almost certain to be the theatre for future conflicts. There is a very real prospect of a “cyber race” in which powerful nations and large technology platforms enter into open competition for our collective data as the fuel to generate economic, medical and security supremacy across the globe. Forms of “cyber-colonization” are increasingly likely, as powerful states are able to harness AI and biotech together to understand and potentially control other countries’ populations and ecosystems.
Towards Global Governance of AI
Politically, legally and ethically, our societies are not prepared for the deployment of AI. The UN, established many decades before the emergence of these technologies, is in many ways poorly placed to develop the kind of responsible governance that will channel AI’s potential away from these risks and towards our collective safety and wellbeing. In fact, the resurgence of nationalist agendas across the world may point to a dwindling capacity of the multilateral system to play a meaningful role in the global governance of AI. Major corporations and powerful member states may see little value in bringing multilateral approaches to bear on what they consider lucrative and proprietary technologies.
There are, however, some important ways in which the UN can help build the kind of collaborative, transparent networks that may begin to treat our “trust-deficit disorder.” The Secretary-General’s recently-launched High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation, is already working to build a collaborative partnership with the private sector and establish a common approach to new technologies. Such an initiative could eventually find ways to reward cooperation over competition, and to put in place common commitments to using AI-driven technologies for the public good.
Perhaps the most important challenge for the UN in this context is one of relevance, of re-establishing a sense of trust in the multilateral system. But if the above trends tell us anything, it is that AI-driven technologies are an issue for every individual and every state, and that without collective, collaborative forms of governance, there is a real risk that it will be a force that undermines global stability.
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