Displaying items by tag: artificial intelligence
Recent developments in artificial intelligence-generated artwork have caught worldwide attention. A number of artists are using AI algorithms to produce valuable art to be displayed in museums as well as for sale.
For instance, Christie's auction house in New York auctioned an AI-created artwork called "Portrait of Edmond Belamy" for US$432,000 against its initial estimate of US$10,000.
The AI algorithm, created by a Paris-based art collective called Obvious, was fed with a dataset of 15,000 portraits painted between the 14th and 20th centuries to produce the artwork. This means the AI algorithm is trained by the artwork of previous artists before it composes a new one.
The complex abilities of a computer programme-based painter are broad and impressive since it started with series of training and grew further to produce quality artwork equivalent to those produced by humans.
Clearly, it is not a tool with limited functionality like a camera. It can produce artwork on its own based on what it has learnt.
Aside from art, AI programmes can also be developed to write scientific works.
Beta writer, for example, is a machine-learning algorithm developed under the direction of Professor Christian Chiarcos from Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany, that wrote an entire book, titled Lithium-Ion Batteries: A Machine-Generated Summary of Current Research, published by Springer Nature.
This is the first machine-generated research book that was produced by scanning, compiling, sorting and summarising thousands of pages of research on lithium-ion batteries and those related to rechargeable power sources from Springer Nature's online database.
Currently, there is no clear protection or copyright for non-human artwork. Even though AI can author artwork as it can generate new work independently, it does not mean it is the owner of the work's copyright. The United Kingdom's Copyright, Design and Patents Act of 1988 under Section 178 contemplates a natural human being as the owner of computer-generated or AI artwork.
At the moment, humans will be the holder of the copyright. Without the skill of a human programmer who poured their heart and soul into developing the AI programme, it would not exist in the first place. In this case, the programmer is considered to be the first owner or the rightful copyright holder of the AI artwork.
There is an exception to the programmer having copyright, which is when the programme is sold or made available to the public, especially when end users employ it innovatively to produce artwork.
In this situation, the users have more ownership rights. But if
the artwork was produced by end users using an AI programme as part of their work in a company, the copyright of the AI artwork goes to the employer under the "work for hire" agreement.
The ownership of creative artwork or intellectual property is protected not only by state law, but also recognised and respected under Islamic legal principles. In fact, in Islam, intellectual property is considered a type of property and its preservation becomes one of the main objectives of Islamic law (maqasid syariah), namely the protection of wealth (hifz al-mal).
Although, the Quran acknowledges the concept of personal rights (haqq) or private property (milk), the absolute owner of all properties is Allah as everything in this world belongs to Him. The term "ownership" in this context is more akin to trusteeship or stewardship for Allah. This concept of ownership, however, includes the right of the human owner to generate and accumulate wealth as well as the right of possession.
According to the Ottoman Civil Code (Al-Mejelle), one can also acquire real property by developing vacant or undeveloped land (mawat), turning unproductive land to productive land that will, in turn, contribute to the creation of ownership. Similarly, if a person creates or extracts ownerless items (i.e. metals or minerals from the ground), that person can own them.
This also means that any creative act of turning something useless to useful is recognised as a process of acquiring ownership. Intellectual property is inherently creative, creating value where it would not otherwise exist. It can also extend to the creation of value in something useless and turning it into something useful and, therefore, a marketable commodity that can be owned.
In this case, the artwork produced by an AI programme can be owned either by the programmer, user or employer.
The writer is a Research Fellow at the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia
Published in: The New Straits Times, Monday 17 May 2021
The ability of artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse human behaviour across different age groups must be utilised to identify the needs of a person in his or her learning process.
For decades, we have practised a conventional learning process that relies much on a standardised education system that mostly grades learners on the basis of age.
Such a measure had been adopted on the grounds that the cognitive development of a normal person could be identified and differentiated based on chronological age, especially during their early years.
However, even within the same age group, each person has different levels of cognitive development and learning capacity, and thus may have different needs in learning.
Today, artificial intelligence offers such an opportunity, which is known as “adaptive learning”.
Adaptive learning provides more than just tailored learning resources to learners. It uses algorithm to process the interaction between the learner, the educator and the computer.
This tailored-learning process requires the learner to be collaborative rather than a passive information receiver. At the same time, it allows the educator to monitor the progress of the learner through continuous formative assessment since every interaction is tracked in real-time.
An effective adaptive learning system retains the key component of the learning process, namely the presence of the educator. A real teacher during the class hour is indeed relevant, and in fact, integral to the learning process. A teacher with sufficient knowledge and experience can properly guide the student towards a better understanding and prevent him from making mistakes.
Long before the conventional education system and adaptive learning technology, a personalised learning system has been a practice in traditional Islamic pedagogy. In general, a personalised learning system assumes each learner to be unique and therefore has different needs.
The teacher will always be a source of reference, and provides the learners with the knowledge they need. In a traditional setting, the learners should master a certain level of knowledge in order to move forward in their curriculum.
Islamic pedagogy also emphasises knowledge to be put to practice. For example, in learning the Quran, the learner is said to have truly attained knowledge when he puts his learning into practice. Normally, this begins by teaching others when the learners engage in a study circle or collaborative learning with their peers.
Study circles enhance learners’ understanding through discussion and exchange of knowledge as it creates an active engagement between the learners and the teacher. Such an active learning atmosphere in the Islamic education tradition can also be found in the current adaptive learning environment but with the additional help of technology which facilitates teachers in monitoring development and provides the student with tailored materials that suit their needs.
The question should not be whether adaptive learning is better than traditional and conventional education systems. For decades, traditional and conventional learning systems have been providing people with necessary education and skills. It is the success of these systems which has given us the advancements that we have in today’s world.
And now, as technology advances in the age of Industrial Revolution 4.0, adaptive learning tools are widely available and can be utilised as a complementary or supportive component of our current education system to help teachers in their teaching and students in their learning so that it will be more interactive, interesting and efficient.
Besides the support of the adaptive learning system, our country also needs the people themselves to be adaptive learners. They should be taught and trained to be more adaptive to changes in their surroundings that encompass all aspects of their lives.
Adaptive learners equipped with survival skills and a flexible mindset could lead others, especially when they are in leadership positions.
According to the Centre for Asia Leadership, every person, especially a leader, should be capable of changing his mindset to take the right ‘adaptive action’ in line with the demands of Industry 4.0. Hence, we need to be adaptable and to keep pace since our time is one of accelerated change.
The Quran (al-Ra’d 13:11) tells us that God will not change the predicament of certain people unless they take matters into their own hands and change it themselves. Therefore, we should keep learning, be adaptable, and improve ourselves in order to gain and take advantage of the opportunities available to us.
Published in: The New Straits Times, 02 May 2019
The adoption of artificial intelligence in many industries has been regarded by some as a threat to low-skilled workers, as it will drastically cut down reliance on the human workforce.
Besides unemployment, there are also concerns about rising economic inequality caused by AI-driven companies. With fewer employees, these companies would gain a disproportionate advantage than most conventional companies that still depend on normal shift-based systems.
AI bots, for example, have achieved the capability to interact with humans and build relationships through conversations.
This would eventually enable these bots to affect human behaviour and possibly trigger certain actions. Such intelligent machines, however, are not immune to mistakes and confusion, and can be manipulated to fulfil certain ends.
Also, Al cannot be totally expected to be fair and neutral, since it is dependent on human programmers who have their own interests and preferences.
Recent developments have unveiled AI’s ability to recreate image, imitate voice and even generate fake videos of a person, which could be used for fraud. At this level, even voice recognition software can no longer identify such fraud.
Also, its ability to collect huge amount of data without consent, and put humans under surveillance can be a threat to privacy.
Even in cases where AI could potentially eradicate disease or disasters, its approach and method could still cause undesirable consequences that humans may not approve of.
AI raises great security concerns, especially in the form of autonomous cyber-attacks. Even though AI is currently under human control, the growing rate of AI’s ingenuity is exponential. AI experts fear that it might surpass human intelligence and potentially lead to a technological singularity which then becomes a threat to humanity.
Therefore, the problem now is how to programme an AI with morals. The previous “Laws of Robotics”, introduced by Isaac Asimov, would not be enough since there are more tricky questions about what counts as ethical.
It will be difficult to answer questions such as, “Should a self-driving car just hit another person to save the driver?” or “Is it allowed to programme military robots to kill a terrorist?” or “Should a trading bot inform everyone of a predicted disaster, or just keep it a secret?”.
An AI framework that can take into account human desires, goals, preferences and ethical codes is indispensable. Currently, the AI framework that adopts “reinforcement learning” is extensively studied and developed by some researchers to ensure that artificial agents act ethically.
More work is still in progress to improve this technology of ethics.
Besides, to ensure that the rise of AI in all industries is advantageous, we need to have an ethical code for the AI that does not compromise humankind’s potential and its survival.
Recently, the United Kingdom government published a report —AI in the UK: ready, willing and able?—in which five core principles are outlined. The first principle proposed that AI should be developed for the common good and benefit of humanity. The second dictates that AI operates within parameters of intelligibility and fairness. Third, AI should not be used to lessen the privacy or data right of individuals, families or communities. Fourth, all people should have the right to be educated and flourish alongside artificial intelligence. The fifth principle opposes the use of AI as killer robots with the autonomy to hurt, destroy or deceive humans.
The IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems, for instance, has launched a crowd-sourced global treatise entitled, “Ethically Aligned Design: A Vision for Prioritising Human Wellbeing with Autonomous and Intelligent Systems”.
The report takes into account various well-established “classical ethics”, including religious-and-culture-based ethical systems.
As the global community continues to work together on the ethics of AI, there are still vast opportunities to offer ethical inputs, including the ethical principles based on Islamic teachings.
This is in line with Islam’s encouragement for its believers to convey beneficial messages, including to share its ethical principles with society.
In Islam, ethics or akhlak (virtuous character traits) in Arabic, is sometimes employed interchangeably in the Arabic language with adab, which means the manner, attitude, behaviour, and etiquette of putting things in their proper places. Islamic ethics cover all the legal concepts ranging from syariah (Islamic law), fiqh ( jurisprudence), qanun (ordinance), and ‘urf (customary practices).
Adopting and applying moral values based on the Islamic ethical concept or applied Islamic ethics could be a way to address various issues in today’s societies.
At the same time, this approach is in line with the higher objectives of syariah (maqasid alsyariah) that is aimed at conserving human benefit by the protection of human values, including faith (hifz al-din), life (hifz alnafs), lineage (hifz al-nasl), intellect (hifz al-‘aql), and property (hifz al-mal). This approach could be very helpful to address contemporary issues, including those related to the rise of AI and intelligent robots.
As there are so many ethical questions in the age of AI, we need to discuss and address the issues by taking into account various perspectives from different disciplines.
It is hoped that, through this approach, both scientists and religious scholars would work together to address all the issues in harmony, and put an end to the existing practice of separation where scientists and religious scholars operate in two separate universes
Published in: New Straits Times, Friday 30 November 2018