Google has unveiled a set of principles for ethical AI development and deployment, and announced that it will not allow its AI software to be used in weapons or for "unreasonable surveillance". In a detailed blog post, CEO Sundar Pichai said that Google would not develop technologies that cause, or are likely to cause, harm. "Where there is a material risk of harm, we will proceed only where we believe that the benefits substantially outweigh the risks, and will incorporate appropriate safety constraints," he explained. Google will not allow its technologies to be used in weapons or in "other technologies whose principal purpose or implementation is to cause or directly facilitate injury to people", he said. Also on the no-go list are "technologies that gather or use information for surveillance, violating internationally accepted norms", and those "whose purpose contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights".
Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society. Amazon's object and facial recognition software, which the company claims offers real-time detection across tens of millions of mugs, including "up to 100 faces in challenging crowded photos." After its launch in late 2016, Amazon Web Services started marketing the visual surveillance tool (which it dubbed "Rekognition") to law enforcement agencies around the country--including partnering directly with the police department in Orlando and a sheriff's department in Oregon. But now, as April Glaser reports, civil rights groups are pushing back. Last week, a coalition including the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, sent an open letter expressing their "profound concerns" that governments could easily abuse the technology to target communities of color, undocumented immigrants, and political protestors.
This week we were treated to a veritable carnival attraction as Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of one of the largest tech companies in the world, testified before Senate committees about privacy issues related to Facebook's handling of user data. Besides highlighting the fact that most United States senators -- and most people, for that matter -- do not understand Facebook's business model or the user agreement they've already consented to while using Facebook, the spectacle made one fact abundantly clear: Zuckerberg intends to use artificial intelligence to manage the censorship of hate speech on his platform. Over the two days of testimony, the plan for using algorithmic AI for potential censorship practices was discussed multiple times under the auspices of containing hate speech, fake news, election interference, discriminatory ads, and terrorist messaging. In fact, AI was mentioned at least 30 times. Zuckerberg claimed Facebook is five to ten years away from a robust AI platform.
Despite its widespread adoption, Artificial Intelligence still has a long way to go in terms of diversity and inclusion. It's a subject close to our hearts as a company, and quite frankly, something that should be celebrated and shouted about given all the doom and gloom we're so often bombarded with in today's media. From healthcare, and sustainable cities, to climate change and industry, investment in AI is making an impact in many areas. Applications of machine learning and deep learning help shape the trajectories of our daily lives, so much so that we are barely even aware of it. However, all of this do-gooding aside, one of the biggest obstacles in AI programming is that of the inherent bias that exists within it.
Residents of Shenzhen don't dare jaywalk. Since April 2017, this city in China's Guangdong province has deployed a rather intense technique to deter jaywalking. Anyone who crosses against the light will find their face, name, and part of their government ID number displayed on a large LED screen above the intersection, thanks to facial recognition devices all over the city. If that feels invasive, you don't even know the half of it. Now, Motherboard reports that a Chinese artificial intelligence company is partnering the system with mobile carriers, so that offenders receive a text message with a fine as soon as they are caught.
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