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As we begin a new year of hope, we wanted to share and discuss with you a few views on a vision of democratization of AI. Although democratization of AI is difficult to define, the idea of democratizing any technology has been in existence for a long time (1,2). That is because of the greatness it could create in every citizen of the world by being available and accessible to all would mean greater opportunities for all equally. In this divided world of inequalities, democratizing a technology like AI has great importance, as its impacts would mean exponential growth for some while some could still lag far behind. This would only create a much more unequal world. Which, we as a responsible society, could not stand to witness. And with the strong support and immense love of the supporters of MI4People we are able to be on the fight to reduce such inequalities to bring the whole world to grow together. And that is why we are working on projects to democratize the goodness of AI.
What is Democratization of AI in our view
Democratization of AI is simply an act of making AI available for all. Be it AI tools, platforms, data and every related resource, that helps an individual to be better by making use of AI solutions. This could mean that even the non-technical casual users of computers can execute their ideas in AI without technical hurdles. They could utilize the power of no-code drag and drop tools to create an AI solution. Similarly, hardware constraints can be overcome with the help of cloud computing. And so much more would be possible in the realms of AI with the democratization of AI. At first even though it might sound like an irrelevant mission, as we analyze the prospects of it, we believe the impact can be huge. Not because our future would be integrated with AI solutions, but because of the humungous possibilities it holds to unleash a lot of potential. It would be like offering a paintbrush to everyone. Although not everyone could paint masterpieces of their generation like Leonardo da Vinci, sometimes simply the freedom to paint could create another Vincent van Gogh.
This can be better understood with an example. Let us imagine you are a volunteering fire fighter. Unfortunately, there is a flood in your town, and your office phone has been constantly ringing with calls from your near and dear towns people. As you are the expert in handling flood situations, you are continuously faced with the challenge of answering the questions of your anxious neighbors. These could be about basic questions regarding power or even complex ones regarding how to get out of the danger zone. Instead of answering all questions on your own, if you could create a chat tool which could answer most questions on handling the situation until help arrived, wouldn’t that answer many more questions while freeing you to work in the field?
In such a situation you could use the help of publicly available LLMs and chatbot applications that could analyze the information stored as documents to answer the questions like a human being. You could simply use the local map data, basic disaster management information, locally available resource data and so much more including your own knowledge, put into document for the model to learn and share with the user. In this case it helps the local community to get local knowledge with hyper localized resources and solutions personalized to them rather than relying on Google or other platforms filled with unreliable data and public opinions. This solution would not have been possible without openly available AI tools, resources, guides and no-code platforms. While finding an expert in such a short amount of time would be nearly impossible, democratization of AI makes it possible soon.
It would be just as simple as searching for a few pieces of information and putting them together. If you could access this newsletter, this means you can accomplish something like this. Because there are already plenty of resources out there on the internet to create such a solution on your own. This opportunity would only be possible because of the democratization of AI. Many have envisioned an open and democratic AI infrastructure long before we were aware of ChatGPT and OpenAI. Even the whole mission of OpenAI was something similar which unfortunately changed its course over time. But still, many strive to make this a reality because we believe in the greatness it could bring to our societies.
The opportunities it presents
AI experts also believe that there is a great potential for such AI solutions to improve efficiency and human productivity. With the democratization of AI anyone would be able to create an automated system or AI tools that would help them work better. Anyone could come up with ideas that can be put to use for the betterment of humanity with the help of technology. And the removal of technological barriers would mean more availability of such solutions. Because even when we could come up with some great ideas, sometimes finding the right team to develop it technically is a great hurdle. This would be at least partially removed with the help of democratization of AI.
This can help not only individuals but teams and even nations. Government programs even in healthcare that can be improved with the help of AI cannot be executed because either due to the lack of finding talents or other AI resources. With the movement of democratization of AI, a team of volunteers could help build and run the solution in the simplest manner in the shortest time. A large community of well-wishers of the internet world has always contributed to this movement such as with open-source IT solutions and resources. And now with the widespread knowledge of AI applications it has become so much more relevant. As when nations or corporations with great resources would be the only one to benefit the true potential of AI, democratization of AI ensures that it reaches even the most vulnerable societies and uplift them from such situations by taking down technological barriers.
Its potential threats and need for regulations
Similarly, some experts perceive it as a double-edged sword, and we acknowledge that there are pros and cons to it, like with every tool. They argue that this tool can also be used by other malicious users with crooked intentions. Just like how it enables everyone to create tools that are impactful, others could also create new tools for fraudulent schemes. It could enhance their schemes or even support their technological challenges. But let us look at a tool we all use every day without many worries, a knife. The black smiths could also have stopped developing knives for it could harm others. The harm of this tool still happens today, in an era of advanced weaponry. But when such incidents still take place, only the perpetrators are punished and there are measures to ensure such activities don't repeat. Not all knife holders are punished or judged for their shar knives, because it is this very same knife that helps in feeding hundreds of hungry souls. That is because someone thought of using it in the kitchen to cut vegetables and cook soups to fight hunger. Similarly, rather than preventing the potential of such tools being explored to fight the problems of the society by being used in the right place by the right person, we should stand together to create strong regulations and measures to prevent such malicious activities. And creating such regulations would be easier if we could democratize AI to understand its applications and potential, even in the realms of policymakers and politics, so that they understand what they are regulating.
Our little steps for the mission
Understanding this potential of AI for good and working towards bringing the best out of it, MI4People is also working on such initiatives. All our projects would be open source and available for everyone to work on or to be used in their future initiatives. We also embark on making the solutions available ready to anyone from any part of the world. This would mean the solutions such as marine litter detection, soil quality testing, X-ray image analysis can simply be used by anyone with enough technical knowledge and a simple computer. We are also enabling users to create meaning of publicly available data of German authorities at grass root levels from various resources. This Data Open for everyone project not only provides accessibility to all such data in a centralized manner but helps to generate ideas from visualizations and explanations of this data. There have been many other great initiatives in this direction by others aimed at empowering users with the democratization of AI. And at MI4People, we are more than happy to collaborate and contribute to such missions. If you know or are part of such missions let us know to explore opportunities. Or if you believe you could work together with our energetic teams on such initiatives, we are always open for you.
Tomorrow is beautiful
With the current advancements in AI, we are only exploring its potential as a tool. But we truly believe that in the future AI could evolve into a consultant and a collaborator, who would empower every one of us to bring the best in us. It could create societies with no barriers to growth and is technologically enabled and academically knowledgeable. This would ensure that societies all around the world are given equal opportunities and create a fair ground for growth. Be it economically impoverished societies or economic superpowers, this movement to place the right tools in the hands of everyone would mean they have equal opportunities to grow.
Although the internet was not created with the masses in mind, the impact it has on our lives today is immense. And that was proven to be the best tool during our fighting against a pandemic. Without which our lives could have been chaos. And we believe that the impact of AI would be far greater than that of the internet. And it could be a tool that we could gift the generations to come. Even if we might not exist to see the benefits of it reaching every single human being, our generations would be proud that we took the very first steps to make it possible. This could be a timeless gift that enables generations to thrive without constraints. So, let's work towards getting the benefits of AI to everyone because we always believe that AI is truly for everyone, and that is why we are MI for People.