Tech titans declare AI ethics concerns
(Associated Press) - April 11, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The biggest tech companies want you to know that they’re taking special care to ensure that their use of artificial intelligence to sift through mountains of data, analyze faces or build virtual assistants doesn’t spill over to the dark side.

But their efforts to assuage concerns that their machines may be used for nefarious ends have not been universally embraced. Some skeptics see it as mere window dressing by corporations more interested in profit than what’s in society’s best interests.

“Ethical AI” has become a new corporate buzz phrase, slapped on internal review committees, fancy job titles, research projects and philanthropic initiatives. The moves are meant to address concerns over racial and gender bias emerging in facial recognition and other AI systems, as well as address anxieties about job losses to the technology and its use by law enforcement and the military.

But how much substance lies behind the increasingly public ethics campaigns? And who gets to decide which technological pursuits do no harm?

Google was hit with both questions when it formed a new board of outside advisers in late March to help guide how it uses AI in products. But instead of winning over potential critics, it sparked internal rancor. A little more than a week later, Google bowed to pressure from the backlash and dissolved the council.

“It’s become clear that in the current environment, (the council) can’t function as we wanted,” the company said in a statement.

That environment is one of increasing concern that the corporate AI ethics campaigns lack teeth.

Big companies have made an increasingly visible effort to discuss their AI efforts in recent years.

Microsoft, which often tries to position itself as an industry leader on ethics and privacy issues, published its principles around developing AI, released a short book that discussed the societal implications of the technology and has called for some government regulation of AI technologies.

The company’s president even met with Pope Francis earlier this year to discuss industry ethics. Amazon recently announced it is helping fund federal research into “algorithmic fairness.”

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Philstar
  • Latest
Latest
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with