Machines or Humans? Who to blame for failures?

AI and ML are the 2 key words on all the major developer conferences this year. Sure, they are definitely helping to achieve automation in many ways. Automating a process is not new. Automation have taken a huge leap over the past 100 years. To me, anything that a human was doing is being done by a machine is automation. Like wise, from the past this was applied on varieties of industries.

For example, textile industry have changed from Hand-loom weaving to Power-loom weaving. Almost, there is no human who is involved in weaving.

Textile industry where machines dominate near to 100% weaving throughout the world

Similarly, lets take farming and agriculture. There is almost no one who uses moat or pulley-system for irrigating the farms. It is all left to the machines to pump the water from the well.

Irrigating the agriculture farm is done through water pumped from wells through machines

In both of these cases, the automation is already achieved. However, these mandates don’t even make us realize that these things are done by machines.

Today’s automation does not just mean doing the usual scheduled jobs. Today’s automation means adding intelligence to the jobs that a machine can do.

For the same examples considered above –

  1.  What if the weaving machines know what kind of thread to load and what kind of design to print?
  2. What if the irrigation system know when to irrigate the field based on the crop cultivated and the moisture level in the soil and air?

Now this opens up a topic on how much safe and secure is adding intelligence to machines. Let us see some modern day use cases where machines are used not just to achieve automation, but to do some wise jobs.

  1. Driver-less cars – Who doesn’t like an driver-less car? Cruise mode, Auto sensing for brakes, Rear view camera, Maps for navigation, Fuel level indicator and so many features of car that we drive in today’s world have become like organs of the car. Why should a human be in charge of controlling and a controller of all these organs. These lead to adding smart intelligence and make a car self driving. This is brilliant. However, in this case, who claims the responsibility for any fatal accidents by a self driving car?
  2. Drones – Sooner or later we are going to see drones flying over our heads like birds. Again this is a brilliant concept to achieve the last mile delivery in a remote area located by a country side. Why drive a bigger truck when the same can be achieved using a small drone in a energy and time efficient way? What if drones are used for wrong reasons like – spying and monitoring – security threats?
  3. Smart authentication and authorization – Every hardware manufacturer wants their hardware to be smart. The first thing that they try to achieve is to add smart detection on the user of the hardware. Not just restricting to fingerprint based authentication and authorization, some of the smart lock and unlock includes the below –
    • Facial recognition
    • Voice recognition
    • Trusted WiFi
    • Trusted Location
    • Trusted Devices
    • On body detection and so many

All the above advancements in technology are good if there is a proper law in place. Every country is trying to come up with their own legislation on safe technology in intelligent machines. Does this law have proper ask on whom to blame when the intelligent machines fail or get corrupted? How do you punish the machines? Safety and control are 2 important aspects adding to rolling out these automated technologies. There are many studies and tests that are already in place to monitor the same.

From improving safety to reducing operational cost, intelligent machines have both pros and cons.

Finally, when it comes to Human vs Machines – The choice of choosing between these 2 is still with Humans.

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