•      Thu Jul 25 2024

Fast Developing AI as New Friend of Human

AI Robot

Netra Subedi “Prayas”

Kathmandu, Feb 20: In human civilization, human being is always in search of an alternate which can work at least similar to human beings. In such search process, recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) is supposed to surpass human capacity. In mastery of language and in chess game AI has already crossed human ability indicating that there is unimaginable working capacity of AI in different sectors. According to famous author and historian Yuval Noah Harari, AI is associated with future of humanity. In his words, there are at least two milestones in the development of AI. First is the capacity of the machine to identify and response to the feelings and emotion in human beings. Another is not other than ability to navigate and operate safely in the real world scenario.

According to John McCarthy, AI is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines that can perform tasks that are characteristics of human intelligence. The intelligent systems could be in the form of software, hardware or a combination of both. We notice some overlap between AI and information technology basically in terms of the use of computer technology. Actually, AI is more focused on creating intelligent systems that can be operated autonomously and make decisions, while IT is concerned with the infrastructure and systems used to manage and process data.

Elements, applications and recent trends of AI

The key elements of AI include Natural Language Processing (NLP), expert systems, robotics, intelligent agents, computational intelligence, artificial general intelligence etc. In recent years many advancements are made in each of these elements. Areas of AI application ranges from features in social media and smart phones to image and speech recognition, use of robotics in customer service, recommendation engines for effective strategies, stock trading and useful products like generative AI. ChatGpt, chatBot, Google Gemini are few widely used generative AI tools which has already evolved through new generations with multiple capabilities. Paradigm shift is seen in the AI quantum computing. AI human like robots are interesting aspects in the sense that they can read human expressions and emotions so that they can be used in customer care and factories where similar actions are repeatedly done. The right tracking of use of AI is the accountability of human. If AI goes out of our control, there is risk of developing once supposed friend into an alien.

Talking about the recent advancements in AI we should at least recall the web development and its commercial use since 2000’s. Another remarkable event is of late 2017 when an AI program named Alpha zero developed by Google defeated the most powerful chess program in the world indicating that AI is winning human capability. Simulation of intelligence in machine is another development in AI. Similarly, virtual reality and augmented reality creating simulated environment are crucial achievement made in the sector.

Emotionally intelligent AI are able to detect micro expressions in face and hence support as customer care. Autonomous AI systems are known for multitasking such as driverless vehicle operation in the crowded roads. Open AI developed by Microsoft is known for speech and image recognition. ChatGpt introduced in November 2022 is regarded as turning point in AI use. According to Geoffrey Hinton, godfather of AI, machine may walk over the humans who make them in the near future.

AI and education

Inequality in the facility of information and communication technology is best described as digital divide. Once we make countrywide coverage of internet services, there will be easy availability of access to AI tools through apps most of which are free of cost. Personalized AI education system are supposed to be adaptive and effective in addressing learning gaps followed by performance analysis. Hopefully, quality of education will go up with the introduction of AI tools in the near future.

AI and healthcare

The time taken for x-ray reports has diminished from more than a week to just 1 minute after the application of AI. Diagnostics of critical diseases has made easier using AI supported programs. For example, cure.AI is an Indian company providing its service to more than 700 hospitals. In Nepal also telemedicine is in use and there is possibility of using AI enhanced healthcare through well-equipped focal hospitals. AI enhanced tools are useful not only for disease detection but also for personalized medication. There should be provision for data security and privacy protection as well.

AI and economy

We can recall the use of Sophia, humanoid female robot in a Sustainable Development Goals related program organized by UNDP in Kathmandu in March, 2018. It is increasingly believed that AI will transform the global economy in coming years. But we have to be prepared so that we can ensure the AI based transformation. Recently, International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that AI may hit almost 40 percent jobs. It may cause new kind of inequality in the world. Back in history machines and computers cut large number of jobs in their massive use stage which will be repeated at the massive use of AI tools too.

Also, AI is supposed to be useful in mitigating impacts of climate change, waste management and efficient use of energy. Generative artificial intelligence has the potential to automate many tasks and eventually boost global economic growth. Goldman Sachs Research forecasts that AI will start having a remarkable impact on US GDP in 2027 and begin affecting growth in other economies around the world in the years that follow.

AI and society

With fast changing capacity of AI and widespread use, human being is gradually be AI enhanced. At the initial stage, skepticism prevails everywhere. We need a set of policies to safely leverage the vast potential of AI for the benefit of humanity. The features and provisions in the AI tools should honor the basic tenets of democracy like freedom of expression, transparency, accountability, rule of law, human rights and concerns of marginalized section of the society. Novel threats demands novel approaches to deal with and AI is not the exception. One study done based on the views of 2800 authors throughout the globe reveal that the speed of evolution of AI tools and techniques has been remarkably faster than it was projected earlier.

AI and governance

It’s clear to note that AI governance and governance through AI has different scope. Now the trend has shifted from first to later one. Recently, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Nepal has prepared preliminary conceptual note on use of AI in Nepal and now engaging experts to give it to a final shape. Now is the right time for the national planning commission to pay attention for policy and programs in upcoming periodic plan as well as annual budget.

AI should be priority agenda of government at least for learning and adaptation. We all know that UAE has already declared the provision of AI ministry. Many conferences are set in 2024 in different part of the world. For example, AI in finance summit is to be held in New York in April and Applied AI summit to be organized by Denmark in the same month followed by data innovation summit in Dubai in May 2024 indicating that AI has become the priority issue for global dialogue. Moreover, global initiatives is important to create forum to discuss AI issues. For example, there may be need of treaty to ban the use of military robot, check the random use of data algorithms especially during general elections. While using AI we need to redirect it for increase in production and simplification of public service delivery.

With its rapid increase in the application, AI regulation is the area every government need to give attention. Since public sector of third world has every chance to lack AI experts there should be policy guiding for the capacity development of government officials followed by general regulation for the best use of AI in Nepal and encouragement for the tech companies working in the field of AI. It should be well noted that AI in the hand of bad actors will be a big concern.


AI is one of the potential good friends for human being. AI can be an effective tool for influencing geopolitics in the ground that different tools developed especially in the north blocks are already entered the Nepalese market. Government can play a role to take strategic initiatives to make best use of AI tools. Besides, there are many possibilities we can explore with the introduction of AI. Capability building will enable us for the prioritization and best use. Its right time to begin dialogue among the stakeholders so that Nepal could be active user of AI advancements for the benefit of citizens. #RSS #Nepal
(The writer is Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology)

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