CJI Chandrachud says world 'confronted with questions about ethical treatment' of AI
Justice Chandrachud said that liberty allows an individual to make choices for oneself and change the course of life
Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud on Saturday said that people are faced with several fascinating aspects of Artificial Intelligence in the present digital age.
"There is a complex interplay between Artificial Intelligence (AI) and personhood where we find ourselves navigating uncharted territories that demand both philosophical reflection and practical considerations," he said.
While citing the example of a human robot Sophia, which was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia, the CJI said, "In contemplating the intersection of AI and personhood, we are confronted with fundamental questions about the ethical treatment of these technologies. We must reflect on whether all humans who live, breathe and walk are entitled to personhood and citizenship based on their identity."
The CJI was addressing the plenary session of the 36th 'LAWASIA' conference virtually, where he spoke on “Identity, the Individual and the State - New Paths to liberty” and also discussed about the several aspects of the AI.
LAWASIA, a regional association of attorneys, judges, jurists, and legal organisations, promotes the interests and concerns of the Asia Pacific legal progression.
The CJI stated that a person's identity and the state's acknowledgment of it determine what resources they are able to access, as well as their ability to voice their grievances and demand their rights.
Justice Chandrachud said that liberty allows an individual to make choices for oneself and change the course of life while, identity intersects with the individual's agency and life choices. "As lawyers, we are constantly confronted with this intersection and the role of the State to limit or expand the life opportunities of the people. While the relationship between the state and liberty has been understood widely, the task of establishing and explaining the relationship between identity and liberty is incomplete," the CJI said.
He further said that liberty has traditionally been defined as the lack of government intervention with an individual's freedom to self-determination. However, the modern scholars have claimed that the state's role in upholding social hierarchies and prejudices cannot be disregarded.
"In effect, whether the state does not intervene, it automatically allows communities with social and economic capital to exercise dominance over communities who have been historically marginalised," the CJI said.
Justice Chandrachud further observed that in a traditional, liberal paradigm, people who face marginalization due to their caste, race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation will always face oppression which gives the socially dominant more power.
The CJI also cited the 1859 book on liberty by English philosopher John Stuart Mill, in which the author described the historical fight between liberty and authority and the tyranny of the state, which, in his opinion, must be subdued by the liberty of the people.
The author had divided the authority control into two mechanisms. First, the necessity rights belonging to the citizens and second that there must be constitutional checks for the community to consent to the impacts of the governing path.
The Chief Justice further encapsulated the concept of liberty with the phrase, “Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.”
The CJI concluded while emphasising that "we need to widen our viewpoints. For instance, pluralism and diversity must be fundamental to the concept of popular sovereignty."
(With inputs from PTI)
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