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Editorials/Opinions Analysis For UPSC 21 November 2023

  1. Is Artificial Intelligence Taking over the Control?
  2. A Renewed Focus on Emerging Technologies in Defence


AI technology has become extensively integrated into the ongoing Assembly poll campaign. This encompasses the creation of songs featuring the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in various languages. Additionally, AI-powered voice cloning tools are being employed to send personalized messages to voters and party workers.


GS3- Science and Technology- Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-technology, Bio-technology and issues relating to Intellectual Property Rights.

Mains Question:

Highlighting the uses of Artificial Intelligence across various domains, analyse in the context of the recent AI Safety Summit if we are losing control handing over our destiny to computers. (15 marks, 250 words).

Status of AI usage in India:

  • Supporters of AI believe that it is crucial for tasks like voter registration and verification, predictive analysis of voter behaviors, analyzing social media sentiment, and ensuring election security.
  • Both Congress and the BJP have utilized AI-powered voice cloning tools. Some television channels have also introduced AI TV anchors in Odiya, Kannada, and Hindi.
  • In the healthcare sector, AI has brought about substantial transformations in India, enhancing medical services through advanced diagnosis, treatment, and patient care tools.
  • According to a recent World Economic Forum report, India’s expenditure on AI is expected to reach $11.78 billion by 2025, contributing an additional $1 trillion to the country’s economy by 2035. Prime Minister Modi is actively promoting further AI development in India.

AI Safety Summit and the Concerns Associated with the use of AI:

  • At the first AI Safety Summit hosted by the UK at Bletchley Park on November 1, political and industry leaders discussed the risks associated with artificial intelligence and focused on developing the technology safely.
  • With participation from 28 countries, including the United Nations and the European Union, the summit emphasized the global nature of the issue, stressing the importance of international cooperation and healthy competition.
  • British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed concerns about humanity potentially losing control to computers, and discussions included the role of AI in cyberattacks, where AI’s ability to impersonate at an unprecedented scale and speed could disrupt the global financial system and threaten democracy.
  • Minister of State Rajeev Chandrasekhar, representing India, emphasized the need for AI and tech to represent goodness, safety, and trust.
  • While the conference marked a positive start, concerns persist, including the potential misuse of AI tools by terrorist groups and the fear of AI becoming uncontrollable.
  • AI-related challenges in the coming year encompass real-time cybersecurity, supply chain efficiency, software development acceleration, and automation in customer service.
  • Despite its advantages in automating tasks, analyzing data, making decisions, and enhancing efficiency, AI also raises concerns such as job displacement, ethical considerations, and the loss of human qualities.


The summit successfully brought together world leaders to discuss the benefits and dangers of AI. However, the absence of an international regulatory body underscores the need for concerted efforts in addressing questions about the impact of AI on jobs, the development of non-human minds, and whether AI is a dangerous or welcome technology. As AI continues to evolve, the imperative remains to establish global rules and regulations to ensure responsible and ethical use.


The utilization of capabilities that leverage a combination of cyber technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI), unmanned systems, and advanced computing is prevalent among most militaries. The Indian military is actively acknowledging this trend as recently highlighted by General Manoj Pande.


GS3- Defence

Mains Question:

Fully realising the potential of emerging technologies in the military requires altering existing organisations and approaches. Comment. (10 marks, 150 words).

Initiatives Taken by India that Focus on Emerging Technologies:

  • During the Chanakya Defence Dialogue, General Manoj Pande, the Chief of the Army Staff, revealed that the Army had identified 45 niche technologies in the field of military applications.
  • Similarly, under ‘UDAAN,’ the Indian Air Force (IAF) is employing AI, cyber, and virtual reality to address operational, logistical, and training needs.
  • The Navy is also progressing with emerging technologies, including an Integrated Unmanned Roadmap, and encouraging indigenization under the ‘Swavlamban’ project.
  • The Defence Ministry, through ‘AIDef,’ has showcased its initiatives in this domain, including the Defence AI Council and the Defence AI Project Agency.
  • Both efforts aim to incorporate AI into various allied organizations, such as Defence Public Sector Undertakings and the Defence Research and Development Organisation.

Persisting Challenges:

  • While India’s military has focused on emerging technologies for some time, with the induction of drone platforms and recognition of cyber threats, there are significant shortcomings in the approach to this domain.
  • Jointness, or interoperability between the three services, remains problematic, and there is a need to revisit human resources practices to prioritize technical expertise in specialized technology.
  • Additionally, greater openness in sharing data with civilians is essential to fully realize the potential of AI.
  • While some view emerging technologies as the latest trend, others argue that traditional military elements like artillery, maneuver warfare, and infantry tactics still dominate, as evidenced by accounts of the Russia-Ukraine war. However, at a conceptual level, emerging technologies pose a dilemma for militaries on how to best respond to change.

Way Forward:

Creative Thinking:

Despite these well-intentioned efforts, there is a need for more creative thinking about the approach to emerging technologies.  Specifically, for these initiatives to succeed, the military must recognize that technology is not a silver bullet and should not be viewed as a ‘plug and play’ solution that can be easily adjusted to existing practices.

Instead, it should be accompanied by organizational and doctrinal changes and a willingness to share data with the civilian environment.

Collaborative Defence:

Effectively integrating emerging technologies requires closer collaboration between the military and civilians than ever before. The concept of “collaborative defence,” where the military partners with scientists, academics, technologists, entrepreneurs, and the wider industry, is deemed critical in incorporating such capabilities. In this regard, India’s defence organizations and the military still have some way to go.

Institutional Changes:

To fully harness the potential of emerging technologies, there is a need for changes in existing organizations and approaches. This transformation should start from the Defence Ministry, which should be more open to incorporating technocrats and qualified personnel from the private sector. The military, in turn, must create pathways for civilians to work alongside them as technology professionals and explore the need for separate cadres to tap into the promise of such technologies.


While ongoing defense reforms in India have set the military on the path to a significant transformation, realizing the vision requires greater willingness to engage with talent outside existing defense organizations.

May 2024