Future of AI: Can Morals and Scientific Advancement Go Hand in Hand?

Deep researches have been going on in Artificial Intelligence (AI), its use in facial recognition and AI chatbots, etc. But this has also posed a threat to societal elements. Thus tech leaders have urged to set global standards on how to use Advanced Technology.

Crux of the Matter
  • Leading Tech giants like Microsoft, Tesla, IMB and Google had made a call on past Monday for change in the regulation policies related to Artificial Intelligence.
  • Taking into account the dark side of AI, Elon Musk CEO of SpaceX said that “If not regulated or controlled soon, AI could become an “immortal dictator” and there will be no escape for humans.”
  • Understanding the responsibility on his shoulder, Sunder Pichai CEO of Google and Alphabet, said, “There is no question that we need regulation and laws regarding AI at global level but how to approach it is bigger deal.”
  • He further added “Companies such as ours cannot just build promising new technology and let market forces decide how it will be used. It is equally incumbent on us to make sure that technology is harnessed for good and available to everyone”.
  • IMB chief Ginni Rometty said, “artificial intelligence regulations must be crafted with precise regulations and technology can’t flourish at the cost of social security.”
  • She further points out that technology is not an issue but the way it can be used is a potential threat for us.

Machine ethics (or machine morality) is the field of research concerned with designing Artificial Moral Agents (AMAs), robots or artificially intelligent computers that behave morally or as though moral. To account for the nature of these agents, it has been suggested to consider certain philosophical ideas, like the standard characterizations of agency, rational agency, moral agency, and artificial agency, which are related to the concept of AMAs. More Info

Ethical Tech – There is one technology in particular that could truly bring the possibility of robots with moral competence to reality. In a paper on the acquisition of moral values by robots, Nayef Al-Rodhan mentions the case of neuromorphic chips, which aim to process information similarly to humans, nonlinearly and with millions of interconnected artificial neurons. Robots embedded with neuromorphic technology could learn and develop knowledge in a uniquely humanlike way. Inevitably, this raises the question of the environment in which such robots would learn about the world and whose morality they would inherit – or if they end up developing human ‘weaknesses’ as well: selfishness, a pro-survival attitude, hesitation, etc. More Info

Justice delayed is justice denied: Govt to SC on death penalty laws

Ministry of Home Affairs has filed a petition to the Supreme Court regarding shortcomings in the rape law in the country. Centre took this decision after delay in the judgment of Nirbhaya Case.

Crux of the Matter
  • After the 2012 Nirbhaya case, there had been modifications in law and order pertaining to rape and sexual assault. Fast track courts were opened across the country to deliver speedy justice.
  • But the skewness of the law towards convicts in cases of death penalty has resulted in unnecessary delay in judgments.
  • Central Government wrote an application to the Supreme Court seeking changes in the ‘convict-centric’ guidelines. Center wants to bring in a seven-day time limit for convicts to use their last available legal options before execution in the death penalty cases.
  • The government also stressed upon reduction of time limit to seven-days to file a mercy petition by death row convicts. To eradicate delays, the government wants state-governments and jail officials to issue a new death warrant within seven days instead of fourteen days, after the rejection of mercy petition.
  • One of the convicts had filed a mercy petition after the announcement of first death warrant and said that he was a juvenile at the time of committing the heinous crime. It was rejected by SC saying that “we won’t listen to same thing again and again”.
  • After 7 years of wait, the Nirbhaya case closed with the judgment of the death penalty to be given to 4 convicts on 1st February.
  • Delhi, the center of Indian politics has given this case a shape of the political subject, as BJP accused AAP of prolonged delay in the judgment of heinous rape case of 2012.

Fast track Courts – As a result of the 2012 Delhi gang rape case, the Indian government implemented a fast-track court system to rapidly prosecute rape cases. The fast-track court system has been welcomed by some, but their fairness questioned by legal experts and scholars. The legal scholars state that the fast-track courts may not be fair in an impoverished country where millions of cases are backlogged, and there are an average of just 14 judges per million people – among the lowest in a United Nations study of 65 nations. Fast track courts divert limited judicial resources and add delays to prosecution of other crimes. They noted that Delhi state had instituted five fast-track courts in 2013 to handle rape cases, but there are no fast-track courts for murder. Mrinal Satish, of New Delhi’s National Law University said, “there is a risk that in this emotional response and clamor for immediate justice, we could end up putting innocent people in prison”. More Info

'One Nation, One Ration' expected to be Rolled Out on 1st June

Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that the government will implement ‘one nation, one ration’ from 1st June 2020. Beneficiaries of the scheme will be able to avail their food grain quota anywhere across the country using one same Ration Card.

Crux of the Matter
  • The aim of bringing this scheme into action is to reduce the complexities in serving the food grains to beneficiaries entitled under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
  • “Indian standards are harmonised with international standards, wherever possible. Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has granted about 998 licenses to overseas firms spread across about 51 countries for various products as per Indian standards,” said Ram Vilas Paswan.
  • Government has already implemented this scheme in 12 states – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, Haryana, Rajasthan, Tripura, Goa, Jharkhand, and Madhya Pradesh.
  • So far 75 Crore people have registered. Ration card application will be verified through Aadhaar authentication on the electronic point of sales device.

Public Distribution System– Indian food security system was established by the Government of India under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution to distribute food and non-food items to India’s poor at subsidized rates. This scheme was first started in February 1944, during the Second World War, and was launched in the current form in June 1947. Major commodities distributed include staple food grains, such as wheat, rice, sugar and essential fuels like kerosene, through a network of fair price shops (also known as ration shops) established in several states across the country. Food Corporation of India, a Government-owned corporation, procures and maintains the public distribution system (PDS). More Info

Government Mulling Over Curbs on Duty-Free Alcohol And Cigarettes

The government is likely to change rules regarding duty-free imports, especially on alcohol and cigarettes. Ministry of Commerce and Industry has sent their suggestion for the upcoming 2020-2021 budget.

Crux of the Matter
  • Ministry of Commerce and Industry has decided to uplift its Custom laws applicable to Indian airports to meet global standards.
  • Ministry has proposed a cut of 50% on the quantity of duty-free alcohol i.e. from 2 litres to 1 litre, and other duty-free items which can be brought in India, by passengers from overseas trips.
  • Considering cigarettes as a sin good, the Ministry has already reduced the number of cigarettes from 200 to 100 that can be brought to India from overseas.
  • Referring to global standards, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goel said, “It’s not a question of quantity but it is the fact that India is not encouraging the import of alcohol and tobacco, which are sin goods.”
  • Contrary to this, private Indian airport operators expected to double the amount of duty-free alcohol from 2 litres to 4 litres, believing that it would take Indian standards in level with standards of countries like Singapore, Dubai, etc.
  • Indian airport operators have also said that this move will cost Rs. 650 crores to the airport sector. They added further that airport regulators would have to compensate for this loss by increasing the prices of airport land and parking charges.

Duty-Free Shops – Duty-free shops are retail outlets whose goods are exempt from the payment of certain local or national taxes and duties, on the requirement that the goods sold will be sold to travelers who will take them out of the country. Which products can be sold duty-free vary by jurisdiction, as well as how they can be sold, and the process of calculating the duty or refunding the duty component. More Info

Ministry of Commerce and Industry (India) – The Ministry of Commerce and Industry administers two departments, the Department of Commerce and the Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade. The head of the Ministry is a Minister of Cabinet rank. More Info

Kashmiri Pandits Blow the Homecoming Horn

Kashmiri Pandits have been the subject of agony and atrocities in Valley since 1990. Now, with the scenario taking a different shape after the abrogation of Article 370 and Modi government’s persistent efforts of fighting terrorism, Kashmiri Pandits have decided to resettle in Valley again with the demand of “one place-settlement”.

Crux of the Matter
  • The story of Kashmiri Pandits has been a matter of great discussion in Indian politics, as they have been subject to cruelty committed by Pakistan sponsored militants in the Valley. Core concern of KPs is the safety and security of their lives and the arrangement of livelihood.
  • 19 January is commemorated as ‘holocaust day’ by 3.5 lakh Kashmiri Pandits scattered across and outside India as they were forced to leave their ancient hometowns in 1990 on that day due to the fear of militants.
  • After the abrogation of Article 370 in J&K and better restoration of law and order in the Valley, Kashmiri Pandits have shown their willingness to resettle and ” live and die” at their ancient native place.
  • Kashmiri Pandits are still apprehensive about their full safety and as a result, have demanded “one place settlement“. It means allotment of a whole region to one particular community in a state or a country, where they can live and prosper peacefully.
  • According to All-State Kashmiri Pandit Conference(ASKPC) “one place settlement” is the only alternative for the rehabilitation of the suppressed community in the Valley.
  • Stressing on the security aspect, Dr T K Bhat Secretary of ASKPC said, “You can guard our houses, colonies…but it is not possible to provide security to each and every Kashmiri Pandit when they go out in the market. Security is the most important aspect connected to the return of the community.”
  • Prominent figures like Prof. B L Zutshi (Social Activist)  and Bihari Kak (Artist and Member of Athwas Culture Association) have also supported this demand.
  • UPA-1 government tried to rehabilitate KPs by providing 7.5 lakh to KP families who were willing to resettle at their native home in the valley. Only one family was able to rehabilitate by this scheme of government, given the flaws in the implementation.

Exodus of Kashmiri Hindus – According to the Indian government, more than 62,000 families are registered as Kashmiri refugees including some Sikh and Muslim families. Most families were resettled in Jammu, National Capital Region surrounding Delhi and other neighboring states. The Hindus of the Kashmir Valley were forced to flee the Kashmir valley as a result of being targeted by JKLF and Islamist insurgents during late 1989 and early 1990. Of the approximately 300,000 to 600,000 Hindus living in the Kashmir Valley in 1990, only 2,000–3,000 remain there in 2016. More Info