Published: Вс, Апреля 07, 2019
Electronics | By Shannon Stone

Google cancels AI ethics board amid controversy

Google cancels AI ethics board amid controversy

That suggests the ethics council will be revived in some form, although it's unclear if Google will try the same approach next time.

Google announced an ethics board last week that would monitor the firm's use of artificial intelligence.

A petition published online called on Google to remove Heritage Foundation's Kay Coles James from the council formed a week ago, due to her history of being "vocally anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigrant".

The Silicon Valley giant has now confirmed the board is cancelled, telling Vox on Thursday "in the current environment" the ATEAC "can't function as we wanted".

Vox earlier reported Google's decision to disband the council. "We'll continue to be responsible in our work on the important issues that AI raises, and will find different ways of getting outside opinions on these topics", Google said.

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The council, launched on March 26, was meant to provide recommendations for Google and other companies and researchers working in areas such as facial recognition software, a form of automation that has prompted concerns about racial bias and other limitations.

Ten days might seem like a strangely short time for a council of this type to last, but the ATEAC was mired in controversy nearly from minute one.

The board also controversially included Dyan Gibbens, founder and CEO of drone manufacturer Trumbull Unmanned, a company that is literally developing the tech for the kind of terrifying killer robots the ATEAC would hopefully have been advising against.

At the weekend, board member Prof Alessandro Acquisti resigned, tweeting: "While I'm devoted to research grappling with key ethical issues of fairness, rights and inclusion in AI, I don't believe this is the right forum for me to engage in this important work".

Over the last few years, Google employees have been uniting to push for reforms in the company's workforce standards. And the group of Google employees pointed out several recent Twitter posts in which James criticized proposed federal legislation such as the Equality Act, which aims to halt discrimination based on gender identity, sex and sexual orientation.

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