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AI and Vedas - Navigating Ethical And Legal Challenges In The Age Of Technology

-        By: Veenavarthini.A


In a world where change is the only constant, the morals are inevitable. Talking about Technology and Law one question that arises is, if we as humans desire to coexist with machines we need to find what machine cannot do in practice.  This is where the realm of Intellectual Property Rights come into play, where the balance between innovation and the ethical use of creations must be maintained providing a framework for creating technology that respects and promotes cosmic order and harmony.

 

Intellectual property (IP) constitutes the legal realm encompassing creations of mind which include artistic works, literary masterpieces and innovations. Intellectual property rights are a bundle of exclusive rights over these manmade creations which is vested with the creator to use his creations without fear of competition, at least for a specific period of time. Article 27 of the UDHR, protects the “moral and material interest” of creators in their “scientific, literary, or artistic productions,” as an integral component of its foundational principles. The relationship between Intellectual property rights (IPR) and human rights takes the at most attention in contemporary discussions. Though the debates about the conflict of these rights with Human Rights were the matter of discourse from last two decades be it in healthcare sector, educational sector or even in criminal justice from predicting recidivism to aiding in investigations, these issues has been closely considered by the international community after the Coronavirus pandemic especially when there was a need for concerns on access to vaccines and other medicines. IP rights are labelled as the negative rights because they prevent others from stepping against already created work which thus leads to denial of access to the public.

 

With the growing conflicts of IP laws in the world of developing technology, is there equal access for everyone? And how is this creation affecting the mankind? Will technology shape the world from now on? All these questions were predicted in the Hindu Vedas and dharma.

The Rig Veda, one of the earliest known scriptures, gives significant insights into the essence of existence, emphasizing the necessity of cosmic order (Ṛta). In AI, Ṛta's principles serve as a guide to incorporate ethical frameworks into technical innovation, promoting universal harmony and balance. It is denoted in the history that few cultures have their own cosmic weapons, robots and flying chariots like mentioned in the Mahabharata and Ramayana. This myths holds remarkable parallels to the functioning of our own human personality as described in the holy Vedic scriptures of Hinduism.

One such example is the creation of the concept ‘Mechanical man’ by Indian scholars which could mimic human behaviour. This concept was written in the book Yantra Sarvasva by Bharata Muni in the 200BC. And another example is the automated machine that could do mathematical calculations. This was created by Brahmagupta in the 8th Century. Thus, it’s clear that the concept of AI has long and rich history in ancient India.

By looking all this, it is very evident that most of the creations done by man are based on his very own understanding of nature’s creations, be it from airplanes built on the flight of birds and radar signals on the communication techniques of bats. But now it’s the ‘Man’ himself is being created with the help of human neurons. It is scientifically proved that human thoughts are based on the reflection of our past experiences and consciousness. And in such a way like how we work with the memory, these AI provide us with answers based on ‘common sense’ that is developed in it by its data memory and experience. One good example to understand this is the ChatGPT where numerous theories and questions are inserted in order to make the AI know about the basic knowledge of the world and to answer all the questions based on its understanding of the texts. Thus with the help of human guidance only these AI can work.

But is all the results that AI give are accurate? To answer this question, one major example is the AI in Healthcare Sector where they use large language model tools (LLMs) which helps in intimating human understanding, processing and communication. AI has the potential to revolutionize healthcare by diagnostics and treatment. However, when it comes to critical decisions about patient care it still tent to make error. It is reported that AI system used for diagnosing diseases was found to have a higher error rate for minority patients leading to misdiagnoses and inadequate treatment.

Taking the example of AI in criminal justice, one of the biggest concerns is the potential for bias. Because AI is only as good as the data it’s trained on, there is a risk that it will perpetuate existing biases and discriminatory practices. This can lead to unfair outcomes for marginalized groups and perpetuate injustices in the criminal justice system. Another concern is the lack of transparency in how AI systems make decisions. It can be difficult for humans to understand how a machine learning algorithm arrived at a particular decision, which makes it challenging to identify and correct errors or biases.

It raises all sort of questions from whether human judges will be replaced by AI algorithm. Whether the right to privacy is violated here? How will it impact the future of criminal justice?

It should be made clear that AI models can only mirror their own training data and it’s in the control of their developers. As AI continues to evolve, new ethical and legal challenges will emerge. These challenges will require going vigilance and adaptability in our ethical and legal frameworks.  From the raise of autonomous systems such as self-driving cars which leads to complex questions about liability and accountability to the impact of AI in employment which needs careful consideration of fairness and economic justice for job displacement and for creation of new roles, usage of AI in the future is still unpredictable.

But all these AI creations were already foreseen in the Vedic scriptures of Hinduism. Ṛta is the overarching order that maintains balance and harmony among all aspects of the universe. For AI, this translates into the creation of systems that function within ethical boundaries, respecting both human values and the natural world.

 

While the machines and devices described in ancient writings may appear outlandish by modern standards, they constitute an intriguing examination of the human urge to develop machines capable of mimicking human intelligence and behaviour. It's apparent that ancient Indian philosophers and intellectuals were ahead of their time in their grasp or understanding the concept of machine capabilities, and that their work had continued to influence the development of AI and robotics today.

 

In order to make the AI ethical, that would help the humans hand in hand without disturbing the environment few principles are to be remembered. With a view to effectively use the AI using the concept of Ṛta, AI development shall prioritize balance, truth, and harmony through ethical frameworks. This includes developing AI systems that:

·       AI should respect human dignity and autonomy, enhancing rather than limiting human capacities and liberties.

·       Encourage justice and fairness by eliminating biases in data and algorithms to build more inclusive and unbiased technical solutions.

·       Encourage sustainability by acknowledging the interconnection of all life and the need of protecting the natural environment for future generations.

 

 

 

 

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