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Recalibrating merit in the age of AI

Daily News Analysis:-

GS2: Education

Meritocracy or merit based system: It is a social system where individuals will be rewarded with status for what they have achieved, through his/her creativity and intelligence, rather than their wealth or status which they have right from birth.

Essentiality of meritocracy ot merit base system. 

  1. To remove social inequalities based on caste, creed, sex, religion.
  2. One who is educationally qualified will hold the seat of power.
  3. Only the extent of problem solving ability with the acquired knowledge will be tested.
  4. To render easy social mobility.
  5. More technically educated greate will have the chance to get jobs.

With the entry of AI the Merit system is getting redefined.

  1. AI is showing that creativity is not exclusively human traits. AI is questioning the merit system by performing tasks surpassing human intelligence.
  2. Individuals with access to AI tools perform significantly better. It questions traditional norms of individualized merit.
  3. AI in recruitment might perpetuate inequality. Since AI uses historic data, which will have racism, patriarchy justified content, it might lead to perpetuating inequalities and biases during the recruitment process.
  4. Polarization in jobs creation: It will replaces humans at managerial tasks  repetitive jobs, leaving only high end complex jobs requiring high skill, who will get high wages and very low skill jobs requiring personal presence and personal interactions, who will have low wages. It creates socioeconomic inequality in merit based system.
  5. Eg: Health sector. Diagnosis and clinical level jobs can be replaced by AI. AI predicted pancreatic cancer prior to three years.
  6. Hence, at high level, surgeons and at low level, nurses, caretakers are remained untouched by AI polarising the jobs.
  1. (AI BLACK BOX) Unaccountability and opaqueness of AI algorithm. AI used in assessing performance will not reveal what are the parameters it has used to evaluate the performances during to undisclosed algorithms controlled by few tech giants.
  2. More data access, more the capability to solve problems. Hence, AI of tech giants like google will inadvertently perform better than many smaller organizations creating unfair competition in merit based social systems.

Thus, the parameters to determine merit in the advent of AI, should consider complex interplay between AI and social structures. AI can augment human capabilities and also perpetuate inequalities.

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Recalibrating merit in the age of AI

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