Nidhi Sudhan
on Living in the Age of AI

By Kabir Basu, Grade 10

Artificial intelligence, social media and technology have undoubtedly become a massive part of our lives, and an interactive session by Nidhi Sudhan, a responsible media advocate and co-founder of Citizen Digital Foundation (CDF) effectively captured the combination of wonder and fear that conflicts us when thinking about what the future holds. 

One of the aspects of this discussion was whether technology is progressing faster than society is, especially with parenting and the family dynamic. Parents don’t know how social media defines children’s experiences, and children are unaware of the dangers that could arise online. At the same time, the benefits that social media and the internet bring with them are magnificent – free and accessible information, increased connectivity and new possibilities and solutions. This brings in another facet to the discussion – the productive side of the internet versus the destructive side of the internet. 

 It is the distraction causing, dangerous side that Nidhi expanded upon in the discussion – how it takes advantage of your limbic, impulsive brain. Furthermore, I found it especially intriguing how developers can capitalise on negative emotions, aiming to ‘shock, surprise, seduce and scare’ for attention. Likes and clicks are money in the online world.

Another thought provoking takeaway is how the one thing separating generative AI from humanity is the ability to reason and know why one does something – the understanding of causes and consequences and the responsibility that comes with the power of communication. AI prioritises efficiency and not morality, because it cannot do otherwise. It speaks a language of numbers within which ethics do not exist, while humans have the capacity to be conscientious.

 Some things that stuck with me also scared me to some extent. The algorithm could create a false sense of autonomy, monopolising your impulses. The spread of fake news and false information, that statistically spreads 70% faster than real news online, is also something to take note of. At the end of the day, listening to this talk made a young audience member such as me question my own use of technology, and whether technology serves me, or I serve it.

Books and documentaries recommended by Nidhi Sudhan and CDF to understand AI better.

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