Views on Artificial Intelligence & the Chemical Industry


In the ‘Chemingineering’ feature published in the Chemical Industry Digest August 2017, our columnist, K Sahasranaman wrote on Artificial Intelligence and its impact on the chemical industry.



In response to views solicited on this topic, Prof Om P Goyal has sent us his point of view along with a poem of what the chemical scenario could be by the turn of the century

AI + CI ==> ??” as Chemingineering column, pub­lished in August 2017 issue of Chemical Industry Digest is interestingly written; and thanks to Chemical Industry Digest for opening it to a debate. The subject is rather complex and largely perception based involv­ing creative imagination.

I feel that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is all a game of hugely expanded automation. Human Intelligence (HI) is an algorithm inherited from genes and aug­mented by cognitive psychology made up by reflexes. Likewise, Artificial Intelligence is an algorithm, based on what is given to its body-residence. The resultant ability and the performance of the given algorithm ex­pand and create decision-chunks; which are indeed based on the collective algorithm.

Listed below are some further thoughts:

  1. When compared to an “Intelligent Biological Human (IBH)” being like any one of us, an “Artificial Intelligence Residence (AIR)” like robot (shape can be anything) will get empowered only as much as the IBH will empower it to be.
  2. On the planet Earth, there are millions of species, all biological. Human being is not necessarily the most intelligent or most powerful. For example, mosqui­toes give them hell. Humans know some science & art, and have acquired some skills to deal with them. Lion is ferocious; if not befriended it is to be caged, and so on.
  3. Despite disasters, the industrial automation has evolved as a benefactor to human being interfacing with them. George Orwell’s “1984” and the Francis Coppola’s Hollywood Movie “Apocalypse Now” are based on interesting imagination/ fiction: these 40 year old creations cannot be taken as absolute re­ality. From time to time, in our real life, many influ­ential people made predictions of disasters to hap­pen; but never happened. Of course, many disas­ters have been happening with or without human knowledge. Humans do apply their minds to at least prevent their recurrence.
  4. The AI is bound to reside in some physical entity; let’s continue calling that as robot (residence/ hard­ware) regardless of shape. The evolution and de­ployment of Artificially Intelligent Robot (AIR) ob­viously will happen gradually rather than rapid­ly. Fears are created that AIRs will make their own decisions and overpower IBHs, or even have the will to go prolific/ multiply itself. Such possibilities have an imaginative chance probability. The IBHs will not assign as far as possible any intelligence to AIRs, that any of their thoughts/ actions be un­known to IBH and be disastrous to either or both.
  5. Humans don’t have to be frightened of their own creation; otherwise they would not create them. How much are we really frightened of other mil­lions of biological species (created by nature) on the planet earth? Fears due to AIRs would not be more!
  6. As regards chemical industry (CI), it must first identify the roles for AIRs, give pleasant looks and not frightening to whatever be the physical shape, teach/ program them the skills to befriend IBHs and learn to work together. Nothing extravagant or un­economical will receive acceptance.


– Om Prakash Goyal

Almighty Told A Messenger Sage,

Receiving Bad Planetary Signals,

Confusing, Disturbing, Misleading,

Jumbled Up; Go To Earth, Find Out.

Disguised Sage Roamed Earth,

Garbed Varying Intense Moods,

Smelt Strange Scenarios,

Returned, Reported No Clues!

Oh Great Sage! I Am Worried.

Curses & Blessings Of Sages

Make Demons Invincible, Who

Threaten The Sober, The Wise.

Oh Great Sage! Find details

Of the Amorphous Earth Plan.

The Sage Researched, Reported

Saw Strange Plan-2100 Active.

Wise Robots Trouble Humans.

Race, Swim, Fly, Roar, Sparkle,

Dance As Electronic Images,

Act Like Dead Celebrities.

Oh Sage! Human Population

Falling Sharply Is Disturbing.

Despite Vaccinating, Diseases,

Cancer Of all kinds, Is Viral

Almighty Said, Oh Great Sage!

Your Journey Was Revealing;

Disasters Swallow Species;

Carry Next Time Chemical-2100

Nectar To Empower Humans,

Instant Cure For Cancers,

To Proliferate Strong Men,

To Destroy Clever Robots.

Sage, Bathed With Chem-Spray,

Kept Himself Cream-Cooled.

Task Finished, Sage Returned;

Peeping Into Another Future!

Om Prakash Goyal obtained chemical engineering degree from IIT (Roorkee) and Masters from University of Waterloo, Canada. He worked for ESSO/HPCl, Mumbai, PDVSA and ISLA in South America, Herdillia Chemicals and H&G/Jacobs Eng, Mumbai. For over 15 years, he has been teaching at Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, and is a member of the Technology and Energy Expert Committee of the Indian Chemical Council. During last four de­cades he has written extensively on a variety of technical and management topics for international publications including Hydrocarbon Processing and McKetta’s Encyclopedia of chemi­cal Processing and Design, of whose international advisory board, he was also a member.


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