Just a week after it was announced, Google's new AI ethics board is already in trouble. The board, founded to guide "responsible development of AI" at Google, would have had eight members and met four times over the course of 2019 to consider concerns about Google's AI program. Those concerns include how AI can enable authoritarian states, how AI algorithms produce disparate outcomes, whether to work on military applications of AI, and more. Of the eight people listed in Google's initial announcement, one (privacy researcher Alessandro Acquisti) has announced on Twitter that he won't serve, and two others are the subject of petitions calling for their removal -- Kay Coles James, president of the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, and Dyan Gibbens, CEO of drone company Trumbull Unmanned. Thousands of Google employees have signed onto the petition calling for James's removal.
After little more than a week, Google backtracked on creating its Advanced Technology External Advisory Council, or ATEAC--a committee meant to give the company guidance on how to ethically develop new technologies such as AI. The inclusion of the Heritage Foundation's president, Kay Coles James, on the council caused an outcry over her anti-environmentalist, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-immigrant views, and led nearly 2,500 Google employees to sign a petition for her removal. Instead, the internet giant simply decided to shut down the whole thing. How did things go so wrong? And can Google put them right?
SAP has released its guiding principles for artificial intelligence (AI). Recognizing the significant impact of AI on people, our customers, and wider society, SAP designed these guiding principles to steer the development and deployment of our AI software to help the world run better and improve people's lives. For us, these guidelines are a commitment to move beyond what is legally required and to begin a deep and continuous engagement with the wider ethical and socioeconomic challenges of AI. We look forward to expanding our conversations with customers, partners, employees, legislative bodies, and civil society; and to making our guiding principles an evolving reflection on these discussions and the ever-changing technological landscape. We recognize that, like with any technology, there is scope for AI to be used in ways that are not aligned with these guiding principles and the operational guidelines we are developing.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a technology which is increasingly being utilised in society and the economy worldwide, and its implementation is planned to become more prevalent in coming years. AI is increasingly being embedded in our lives, supplementing our pervasive use of digital technologies. But this is being accompanied by disquiet over problematic and dangerous implementations of AI, or indeed, even AI itself deciding to do dangerous and problematic actions, especially in fields such as the military, medicine and criminal justice. These developments have led to concerns about whether and how AI systems adhere, and will adhere to ethical standards. These concerns have stimulated a global conversation on AI ethics, and have resulted in various actors from different countries and sectors issuing ethics and governance initiatives and guidelines for AI. Such developments form the basis for our research in this report, combining our international and interdisciplinary expertise to give an insight into what is happening in Australia, China, Europe, India and the US.
Who should be on the ethics board of a tech company that's in the business of artificial intelligence (A.I.)? Given the attention to the devastating failure of Google's proposed Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC) earlier this year, which was announced and then canceled within a week, it's crucial to get to the bottom of this question. Google, for one, admitted it's "going back to the drawing board." Tech companies are realizing that artificial intelligence changes power dynamics and as providers of A.I. and machine learning systems, they should proactively consider the ethical impacts of their inventions. That's why they're publishing vision documents like "Principles for A.I." when they haven't done anything comparable for previous technologies.