AI won’t replace humans, says 14-year-old expert

Tanmay Bakshi, said to be world’s youngest AI expert, describes the power of machine-learning in providing solutions

Sharjah: Governments have already started using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve services, Tanmay Bakshi, said to be the world’s youngest AI expert, said during the International Government Communication Forum in Sharjah on Wednesday.


Tanmay, 14, said a common problem — where AI can help — is that there is only one government but millions of citizens?

“How do we make sure that everyone’s voice is heard? This is where the scalability of machine-learning technologies enters the picture,” Tanmay, who is largely self-taught, added.

The Indian-origin teen, who is a member of IBM’s AI Team in Canada, said: “For example, the Mexican government has actually incorporated an AI-based system that can route citizens’ petitions to the correct offices automatically. So instead of having humans manually go through each and every individual petition, now an algorithm will automatically go through them and within milliseconds route it to the correct office.”

There is also a Chat Box service employed by the state government of North Carolina where a “conversational model” AI assists with government employees’ IT problems — mainly simple troubleshooting such as password resets, Tanmay added. This leaves human staff to focus on more deeper problems that require human intelligence to be effective, he said.

“We can use AI in the field of government communications. You see, historically, government communications used to be a little bit more of a one-way process. The government would communicate with the public and there would be very little, if any, communication back from the public to the government. And this is mainly because the government would use naive techniques like TV shows, newspapers, etc, to communicate with the public, but the public couldn’t get back. But nowadays, with the advent of technology and social media, government is communicating with the public just as much as the public is communicating back with the government.”

Tanmay said despite the growing role of AI in our lives, there was no reason to be wary of the trend.

“Before I go today, there’s one misconception I would like to clear. And this is the misconception that AI is going to replace us, make us humans obsolete. This is not true. Rather the point of AI is, it is designed by us, humans, to amplify our skills, augment our intelligence; allow us to do what we already do, better,” he added.

As an example, Tanmay mentioned a system he has developed: An AI-based early warning system for depression. This helps therapists, without replacing them, to better care for more people.

“This is why, I believe, we should not be afraid of AI. Rather, we should embrace it.”

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