Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott believes understanding AI in the future will help people become better citizens. "I think to be a well-informed citizen in the 21st century, you need to know a little bit about this stuff [AI] because you want to be able to participate in the debates. You don't want to be someone to whom AI is sort of this thing that happens to you. You want to be an active agent in the whole ecosystem," he said. In an interview with VentureBeat in San Francisco this week, Scott shared his thoughts on the future of AI, including facial recognition software and manufacturing automation.
The field of artificial intelligence will be one of the biggest areas where different players will be working to establish regulatory guardrails and answer ethical questions in the future. Science fiction writer Isaac Asimov wrote his influential laws of robotics in the first half of the 20th century, and reality is now catching up to fiction. Questions over the ethics of AI and its potential applications are numerous: What constitutes bias within the algorithms? What privacy measures should be employed? And just how much control should humans retain in applying AI-driven automation?
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Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott believes understanding AI in the future will help people be better citizens. "I think to be a well-informed citizen in the 21st century, you need to know a little bit about this stuff [AI] because you want to be able to participate in the debates. You don't want to be someone to whom AI is sort of this thing that happens to you. You want to be an active agent in the whole ecosystem," he said. In an interview with VentureBeat in San Francisco this week, Scott shared his thoughts on the future of AI, including facial recognition software and manufacturing automation.
A top Google executive recently sent a shot across the bow of its competitors regarding face surveillance. Kent Walker, the company's general counsel and senior vice president of global affairs, made it clear that Google -- unlike Amazon and Microsoft -- will not sell a face recognition product until the technology's potential for abuse is addressed. Face recognition, powered by artificial intelligence, could allow the government to supercharge surveillance by automating identification and tracking. Authorities could use it to track protesters, target vulnerable communities (such as immigrants), and create digital policing in communities of color that are already subject to pervasive police monitoring. So how are the world's biggest technology companies responding to this serious threat to privacy, safety and civil rights?
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The shareholders, who are concerned the technology will infringe on people's civil rights, filed a letter on Thursday to stop the sale of the technology, called Rekognition. Organized by Open Mic, a nonprofit that encourages shareholder activism at tech companies, the letter calls for the prohibition of sales to law enforcement agencies until Amazon concludes "that the technology does not cause or contribute to actual or potential violations of civil and human rights."
Amazon investors are turning up the heat on CEO Jeff Bezos with a new letter demanding he stop selling the company's controversial facial recognition technology to police. The shareholder proposal calls for Amazon to stop offering the product, called Rekognition, to government agencies until it undergoes a civil and human rights review. It follow similar criticisms voiced by 450 Amazon employees, as well as civil liberties groups and members of Congress, over the past several months. 'Rekognition contradicts Amazon's opposition to facilitating surveillance,' the letter states. '...Shareholders have little evidence our company is effectively restricting the use of Rekognition to protect privacy and civil rights.
Facial recognition technology has progressed to point where it now interprets emotions in facial expressions. This type of analysis is increasingly used in daily life. For example, companies can use facial recognition software to help with hiring decisions. Other programs scan the faces in crowds to identify threats to public safety. Unfortunately, this technology struggles to interpret the emotions of black faces.
Why the American Civil Liberties Union is calling out Amazon's facial recognition tool, and what the ACLU found when it compared photos of members of Congress to public arrest photos. A group of Amazon shareholders is pushing the tech giant to stop selling its controversial facial recognition technology to U.S. government agencies, just days after a coalition of 85 human rights, faith, and racial justice groups demanded in an open letter that Jeff Bezos' company stop marketing surveillance technology to the feds. Over the last year, the "Rekognition" technology, which has been reportedly marketed to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has come under fire from immigrants' rights groups and privacy advocates who argue that it can be misused and ultimately lead to racially biased outcomes. A test of the technology by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) showed that 28 members of Congress, mostly people of color, were incorrectly identified as police suspects. According to media reports and the ACLU, Amazon has already sold or marketed "Rekognition" to law enforcement agencies in three states.