An internationally acclaimed author who has studied computer science and done extensive research on India’s history, Rajiv Malhotra has interesting insights on what artificial intelligence is doing to our nation and how it will affect us in the future. He looks into how artificial intelligence will alter every aspect of our lives, from an international, to national to a personal level.
Here is an excerpt of the book to give you an idea on it:
Excerpts from ‘Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Power’ by Rajiv Malhotra
The AI-based concentration of power has taken on a terrifying new aspect. When we think of global power, countries like the US, China, and Russia readily come to mind. But today, private companies are accumulating immense power based on their ability to leverage AI and big data as tools to influence, manipulate and even control the minds of people.
Some of these private companies may soon become more powerful than many nation-states, but the shift will not be obvious. They will not fly a flag or manage a currency (although some are attempting to launch their own cryptocurrency), and they will not wield military power, at least not directly. However, their unprecedented knowledge of people and things around the world, coupled with their ability to disrupt and alter the physical world and manipulate people’s choices, will lead to a new nexus of power. Such companies will decide who will, and who will not, be given access to this new form of power, and on what terms.
Not one Indian company is a player in this league. Most unfortunate is that a large number of talented Indians work for American and Chinese companies in an individual capacity, including in top executive positions, but not as owners. Indians who do own companies tend to sell their stake when the right offer comes along. Whenever innovative entrepreneurs anywhere in the world develop a promising breakthrough, digital giants or venture firms that serve as their proxies are waiting to buy them out. As a result, hundreds of instant millionaires are being created at the individual level, including many living in India.
I view this trend as the return of Britain’s East India Company, which started out in 1600 as a modest private company for the purpose of making profit from lucrative trade with India. Over its 250-year history, the East India Company became the world’s largest private business, amassing more wealth, income and military power than even its own British government. Despite being a private company, it became a colonial power—collecting taxes, operating courts, and running the military and other functions of state across many kingdoms within India. At the time, the East India Company had more ships, soldiers, money and territory under its control than any European government, though now it is remembered as a rogue machine. Since then, the lines between government and private companies have often blurred.