Google bans its AI tech in weapons

09 June, 2018, 21:49 | Author: Regina Lloyd
  • Polina Godz  Jacobin

The rules, laid out by CEO Sundar Pichai, don't take a strong or controversial stand on the values that should underpin its technology: The ideal Google AI algorithm is socially beneficial, unbiased, tested for safety, accountable, private, and scientifically rigorous. "How AI is developed and used will have a significant impact on society for many years to come", Pichai wrote. So, Google won't build smart weapons for the government. And they should only be made available for purposes that fall in line with the above.

Other companies leading the race developing AI are also grappling with ethical issues - including Apple, Amazon, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft, which have formed a group with Google called the Partnership on AI. In the guidelines, the company promised that it will not design AI for use in weapons, surveillance or technology that causes harm.

Google has been moving forward with applying AI to their suite of products which as led to fun innovations such as the Auto Awesomes in Google Photos, as well as in more serious areas such as health and conservation which they showed off at their recent AI Stories event here in Sydney. We will give opportunity for notice and consent, encourage architectures with privacy safeguards, and provide appropriate transparency and control over the use of data.

The company outlined seven principles for how it uses A.I., including avoiding "creating or reinforcing unfair bias" and proceeding "where we believe that the overall likely benefits substantially exceed the foreseeable risks and downsides".

The restriction could help Google management defuse months of protest by thousands of employees against the company's work with the USA military to identify objects in drone video.




Weapons or other technologies whose principal objective or implementation is to cause or directly facilitate injury to people.

CNBC also noted that Pichai's vow to "work to limit potentially harmful or abusive applications" is less explicit than previous Google guidelines on AI.

Google has pledged not to use its artificial intelligence technology in military weapons or anything that might weaken human rights in a set of principles announced on Thursday. Several employees said that they did not think the principles went far enough to hold Google accountable-for instance, Google's AI guidelines include a nod to following "principles of worldwide law" but do not explicitly commit to following global human rights law.

"While this means that we will not pursue certain types of government contracts", Greene wrote, "we want to assure our customers and partners that we are still doing everything we can within these guidelines to support our government, the military and our veterans. These collaborations are important and we'll actively look for more ways to augment the critical work of these organisations and keep service members and civilians safe", he said.

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