Saturday, 23 June, 2018

Google’s new ethics rules forbid using its AI for weapons

Missile-AI-Use Image by Reuters clipped header original
Laurie Berry | 08 June, 2018, 22:25

Google on Thursday said it would not allow its artificial intelligence programme to be used to develop weapons or for surveillance efforts that violate worldwide laws.

"We recognize that such powerful technology raises equally powerful questions about its use". Google expects to have talks with the Pentagon over how it can fulfil its contract obligations without violating the principles outlined Thursday.

Following months of controversy over a joint artificial intelligence project with the Pentagon, Google said on Thursday that it would refuse to purse any initiatives that are "likely to cause overall harm" including many kinds of weapons and surveillance. "As a leader in AI, we feel a deep responsibility to get this right", he continued.

The company announced last week that will not renew its Project Maven contract amid pressure from employees and backlash from other groups like the Tech Workers Coalition, a group of tech industry workers and labor and community organizers.

Pichai said the company will "continue our work with governments and the military in many other areas". Google is widely seen as a potential contender for a massive contract to move Defense Department systems to cloud servers.

Google's $800 billion parent company, Alphabet, is considered one of the world's leading authorities on AI and employs some of the field's top talent, including at its London-based subsidiary DeepMind.

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The principles offer limited detail into how the company would seek to follow its rules. Google reportedly said the wording changed because the company can't control all uses of its AI technology.

AI is a critical piece of Google's namesake Web tools, including in image search and recognition, and automatic language translation.

The document, which also enshrines "relevant explanations" of how AI systems work, lays the groundwork for the rollout of Duplex, a human-sounding digital concierge that was shown off booking appointments with human receptionists at a Google developers conference in May.

The company has detailed a total of seven principles guiding its ongoing AI work, which it vows will play a crucial role in its R&D and production developments, even having an "impact on our business decisions", according to Pichai. The company's newly published AI principles, below, make it clear that Google views working with the government and militaries as vital and that it will continue to do so, just with the promise that weapons won't be involved.

"Our goal, our objective, is to create and prevent technological surprise".

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