Written By: Puruesh Chaudhary
According to recent statistics released for the months of December 2016 to June 2017 on social media usage; 2 billion on Facebook, 1.5 billion on Youtube, 700 million on Instagram, 328 million on Twitter, 1.2 billion on Whatsapp, 255 million on Snapchat, 1.2 billion on Facebook Messenger, 889 million on Wechat – the intensity of data generated just across these platforms should be revealing in itself. The more the data, the more the learning, consequently leading to an enhanced crystallization of a much sophisticated processes of ‘artificial minds’ (coined by Don Franceschetti) cognizant by algorithmic sequencing.
Philosophers, military strategists, mathematicians and scientists have their own unique way of thinking, reasoning and inferring. It’s when that is applied in times of peace and war, it shapes our understanding of events and personalities. From a thinker that delivers a concept to a messenger that delivers information is crucial to the process of developing this understanding – ‘Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved by understanding’ according to Albert Einstein. Yet Aristotle says: ‘We make war that we may live in Peace’. And as Napoleon Bonaparte puts it as, ‘Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake’. But should our thinking be guided by what Plato believed in i.e., ‘Only the dead have seen the end of War'. So, technically those left behind, do what? suffer or celebrate – the irony here is that with the proliferation of information communication technologies much of the time even the content creators are confused as to whom the actual quote is attributed to. Nowadays even labelled as fake news appear tantamount to it being a threat to national security. This is happening on digital platforms. Meanwhile, what also is available on these platforms, on trustworthiness that is; indeed, Allah orders you to render the trusts to their owners, and when you judge between people; to judge with justice. Indeed, Allah advises you with it. Indeed, Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing [An Nisa 4:58]. Further expanding on this according to Saheeh Bukhari and Saheeh Muslim, Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) says that, The signs of the hypocrite are three; when he speaks he lies, when he promises he breaks his promise and when he is entrusted he betrays the trust. There's a greater probability to integrate the known human ethics and morals in to Artificial Intelligence. To shepherd this interaction between man and machine – Transhumanism, an international intellectual and cultural movement is supporting the use of science and technology that enhances human capacities in both physical and mental spheres. A not-for-profit organization based out of Los Angeles United States, Humanity advocates the ethical use of such advanced technology. Transhuman means beyond human. Yuval Harari, an Israeli Historian in his book Homo Deus: A brief History of Tomorrow also investigates what may seem to be far future the transition from humanism. The Executive Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies and Editor for the Journal of Evolution and Technology explores the Compatibility of Religious and Transhumanist views of Metaphysics, Suffering, Virtue and Transcendence in an Enhanced Future in which he advocates for ‘trans-spirituality’ what also appears to be significant is the membership survey conducted by the World Transhumanist Association in 2004-05 which found that at least one quarter of its overall 1100 respondents were religious in some sense, whereby 1% described their religious and spiritual views of that of a Muslim.
‘Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Warfare’ research paper published earlier this year by the Chatham House charts out the complexities around incorporation of AI both in the commercial sector as well as in the military industry. The framework provided therefore considers the role of human intervention as the level of uncertainty increases at a much advanced stage. The autonomous system doesn’t necessarily rule out the power of human cognition. Information and communication sector remains one of the critical vertical in the development of an autonomous system; a sector which received more research and development funds globally than any other industry. In 2015, Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking both signatory to an open letter called for ban on autonomous weapons. But why? Could it be possible that AI is potentially being positioned as an instrument of deterrence just as the nuclear programme was over the last couple decades or is this just absurd. How can or will the augmented and virtual reality build toward a scenario causing serious threat to human security? Will the gaming industry contribute to such a scenario or will it remain purely for entertainment purposes? Is singularity in 2045 just a myth? The cognitive dimensions of warfare in the 21st century have clearly not made the discourse in this part of the world. This new reality also caters to taking down an entire nation’s power grid, to investment in nuclear capabilities in outer space.
The combination of war and technology is both damaging and catastrophic.
Yet historically the world has witnessed how the meanings around the nature of war has evolved. A computer-enabled programme capable of killing humans based on mechanically generated algorithm is quite a dystopian future. In which case very little work has been produced on healing human suffering. But as innovation progresses; it is quite evident that weaponisation of Artificial Intelligence is plausible and therefore is the future of armed forces around the world.
However in this world reality, the experience will be Realtime.
If we let that sink in; we would realize that the change has already happened. The failure to recognize will only leave us in shock and awe – in a constant state of bewilderment. But maybe this is what we want. There’s solace. Ignorance is not only a bliss but partially also an exit strategy, an exit from assumed responsibilities. However, big data challenges the very core of our current state of understanding which structure our thoughts. What will accelerate this challenge is machine learning and Artificial Intelligence. It is when the technology begins to make better sense than an ordinary person; is when that person can theoretically carve out newer opportunities depending on which side of the paradigm they exist – the space for a creationist is already very limited and deeply competitive in this industry. The human mind has the capacity to reflect and unreflect. According to recent statistics released for the months of December 2016 to June 2017 on social media usage; 2 billion on Facebook, 1.5 billion on Youtube, 700 million on Instagram, 328 million on Twitter, 1.2 billion on Whatsapp, 255 million on Snapchat, 1.2 billion on Facebook Messenger, 889 million on Wechat – the intensity of data generated just across these platforms should be revealing in itself. The more the data, the more the learning, consequently leading to an enhanced crystallization of a much sophisticated processes of ‘artificial minds’ (coined by Don Franceschetti) cognizant by algorithmic sequencing.
It's all about who has the algorithm to crack a problem statement and the strength of the method which can truly be used for goodness.
In 1956 Dartmouth Conference, John McCarthy gave AI its name; who also happened to be one of the founding fathers of Artificial Intelligence. The Internet Society classifies AI as an internet enabled technology. Thereby meaning to say that this isn’t something new. What will be new is our comprehension of what this means to the wellbeing of the people of Pakistan. The social implications which would require aggressive legislative actions.
So what do we know so far?
Intelligence is when you can solve a problem; sequence decisions, plans and actions. Governance although vast in its arrangement; yet it is pretty much at the heart of national security; if the institutions assuming peoples’ responsibility and their accountability are devoid of any philosophical considerations of AI, it is a threat to state stability. Started back in the 1950s; AI System can now learn, have vision, recognize speech, can plan and reason too; to some degree. The margin of error reduces everyday. The pace of improvement although not radical but is very real. AI Research continues to address two essential factors; knowledge representation and inference – learning and reasoning at the core integrating the system. The contextual knowledge base in Pakistan is incredibly weak. And it stems from even weaker comprehension of data science. And this should be frightening for the policymakers, strategists, academics, responsibility-based activists. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing going on.
In terms of how future-oriented Pakistan has been over the last 15 years in terms of our search patterns in the context of artificial intelligence, Google trends provide a unique insight as they indicate high degree of attention between the years 2004-05 which has reasonably declined over the years and currently is moderately silent compared to otherwise the sort of investment going in to development of AI Systems across the world. However, in the same context Defense of the Ancients also known as DotA is one that trends also; a highly competitive online strategy video game originating from a subgenre of realtime strategy.
The central question therefore is; what is our collective capability?
In Pakistan’s case the first five decades were relatively over ‘territorial wars’ or for a better word ‘conflict’; the next two were about ‘war on terror’ which in some ways was managed by the drone technology – and for a battle hardened army this should instil a thought over what will the next hundred look like. If it's any consolation the one thing we know for a fact that it is being called ‘cyberwarfare’. NATO in 2016 recognized cyberspace as an ‘operational domain’; all possible conflicts in the foreseeable future now have a cyber dimension.
There’s land, sea and air. But now there is space, cyberspace and headspace, too – Mark Sedwill UK National Security Advisor at the RUSI Land Warfare Conference 2017.
If ‘headspace’ is the sixth dimensional operation; how will the security and safety doctrines incorporate this domain? And have the rules of the game established?
What has changed in the last 20 years – there has been a surge of global data footprint in the digital, physical and biological sphere and much of it is already public; for this question to even occur at this point in time – and that too in this particular case is because there are two choices here: a) someone other than Pakistan does this for her; b) Pakistan does this for herself in her own way. In either circumstance it will be national security choice.
Sure; it’s a different choice. But not so unique when it comes to the history of choices Pakistan has made. The country needs to work towards becoming anti-fragile; more self aware as a society so it does not cascade into an imminent failure. More than 95% Muslims, 40% Punjabis, 15% Pashtuns, 14% Sindhi, 8% Saraiki, 7% Muhajir, 3% Baloch with over 60 languages – Linguistic education is an imperative; both from the perspective of its socio-cultural development, function and structure. This is the real AI opportunity. There’s data in everything. It's in abundance. The ability for the state apparatus to equip itself to understand and recognize the immense responsibility it has to be able to become substantively responsive is not utopian – it is something that needed to happen, like yesterday. And this is where it must garner all necessary support, this it can’t do alone effectiveness of which is in public space. Narrow in on the disparities. The automated systems have the potential of harnessing massive amount of data creating valuable insight as a way of overcoming dull challenges of the society which otherwise remains quite low on political agenda. On this account, the learnable evolution model helps.
Experience at the heart of Artificial Intelligence.Identifying anomalous behaviours as an indication of policy reflection.
“Khudi ko kar buland itna ke har taqdeer se pehle
Khuda bande se khud pooche bata teri raza kya hai ” – Dr. Muhammad Iqbal
Develop the self-ego so that before every decree
God will ascertain from you: "What is your wish?"
Is it thus possible that people of Pakistan struggle less to overcome the most mundane issues? Yes.
So can AI System anticipate and respond to Pakistan’s future challenges? Yes. But internet governance is the need of the day.
If the current state of understanding today is Artificial Intelligence, this is not the way of augmenting the future thinking; then it is not too early to assume that we are simply unprepared and ill-equipped for what lies ahead. An intelligent agent is no longer contained in a human body; rather it could simultaneously exist in a human-like form free from any suffering. And if we think that a basic calculator, Google search engine, Microsoft Office enhances our abilities to do, get more done, be more efficient – imagine what an AI System would mean for creating public goods. Deep sense of psychology and human behaviours that organizes mental structures, information processing, decision-making, experience, cognition are the underpinnings of the building blocks of mind, thought and imaginations – these are key features of strengthening AI systems.
Intelligence is when you can solve a problem; sequence decisions, plans and actions. Governance although vast in its arrangement; yet it is pretty much at the heart of national security; if the institutions assuming peoples’ responsibility and their accountability are devoid of any philosophical considerations of AI is a threat to state stability.
Pursuing work at the Foresight Lab, I was asked this question by an AI Professor ‘Which philosophy determines your way of Futures Research’? – never have I felt so deeply challenged and yet so liberated. AI can solve problems – what is truly spectacular is when we start to comprehend and pivot at the philosophy which will determine how it is enabled to shape a human-centric reality in a country of over 200 million. The phenomenological conversations, the extended meanings, interpretation of metaphors and analogy are therefore fundamental in determining the foresight of AI applications and services in times of peace and war. As the investment in AI is increasing; so is the gathering of big data and growth of internet of things – this is creating an enabling environment for AI-based services to expand in the public space. Traditionally, cataloguing power across master, warriors and workers was the way of thinking, this approach has been archaic for quite sometime; the process of algorithmic decision-making system disrupts the tradition as a whole. And it's happening now. For those who believe, especially the political set-up that the right to information is something significant, little would they have to wait for when this right transitions on to open data. It’s not how, it’s a matter of when it’s right to open data.
When ideas are arranged, thinking becomes an activity driven by interactions – the mind that generates these interactions are often rooted in human connection in the physical domain this being captured by machine learning which provides the logic of sensing and interpretation; for the intelligent agent then classifying it beyond the physical nature aspiring to gravitate towards the cornerstone of metaphysical realities is a real challenge. Hence, philosophy of religion becomes an extremely necessary element in demonstrating AI capabilities. The blend of this and linguistic authority gives the Pakistani society the strength required to navigate in a possible dystopian future. With a critical discernment of identifying forward and reversed metaphors embedded in the socio-cultural dynamics of Pakistan. A construct which is weaved in to a sense of purpose for greater good. However the conceptual formation around Artificial Intelligence needs to be one which is organic. This can happen when knowledge on Pakistan and its people is integrated, machine learning and artificial intelligence can gainfully connect those dots.
What has changed in the last 20 years – there has been a surge of global data footprint in the digital, physical and biological sphere and much of is already public; for this question to even occur at this point in time – and that too in this particular case is because there are two choices here: a) someone other than Pakistan does this for her; b) Pakistan does this for herself in her own way. In either circumstance it will be national security choice.
Coherency in thoughts and matter empowering the people to make wiser choices will transform the existing paradigm which in itself today is primitive and self-defeating. Bridging the perception gap between aspirations and realities of the young Pakistanis will transform this paradigm. Should Pakistan survive on narrow, general or super AI? This should be the starting point for Pakistan in the era of AI (R) evolution. But here’s a caveat, the Chinese philosophy Tianxia accommodates the Belt & Road Initiative; while by 2075 Islam will be the World’s largest religion as projected by the Pew Research Center – how Pakistan positions itself will be critical in defining the future of everything to happen in and to the country. What informs this understanding about these foresight dynamics is the philosophy of big data; just as Ibn Khaldun, the greatest philosopher of his time described the evolution of societies and gave meaning to institutions. AI in whichever shape, size or form needs to lift people up, not create an environment that leads to an onslaught of vulnerabilities. If Pakistan needs to win some serious space, it can’t do so with an approach which is severely entrenched in the acts of imbalance.
The national security as we know today is going to be significantly different in 2100.
“God! Grant me knowledge of the ultimate nature of things” – Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him)
Hence the final question; should there be a Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence in Pakistan when all the philosophies and logics in the world fail a grieving mother?
A brief response: Yes.
The writer is Futures Researcher and Strategic Narrative Professional, Founder and President of a think tank AGAHI.