Apple Magazine - - Summary -

Google will give away $25 mil­lion to projects that propose ways to use the ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence of com­put­ers to help cre­ate a more hu­mane so­ci­ety.

The grant pro­gram an­nounced Mon­day is part of a broader Google ini­tia­tive called “AI for So­cial Good” that aims to ease con­cerns that ad­vances in ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence will elim­i­nate jobs and per­haps even be au­tonomously de­ployed by mil­i­taries to kill peo­ple.

Other tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies have taken sim­i­lar steps to ad­dress eth­i­cal is­sues in AI. For in­stance, Mi­crosoft has com­mit­ted $115 mil­lion to an “AI for Good” ini­tia­tive that pro­vides grants to or­ga­ni­za­tions har­ness­ing AI for hu­man­i­tar­ian, ac­ces­si­bil­ity and en­vi­ron­men­tal projects.

Dur­ing a pre­sen­ta­tion in Sun­ny­vale, Cal­i­for­nia, Google demon­strated how its AI tech­nol­ogy is al­ready be­ing used to di­ag­nose dis­eases, help peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, pre­dict ar­eas likely to flood and pro­tect en­dan­gered species.

De­spite com­mit­ments like those be­ing made by Google and Mi­crosoft, the specter of AI go­ing hor­ri­bly awry lingers.

Even as it pledges to do good things with AI, Mi­crosoft is pur­su­ing a mas­sive U.S. mil­i­tary con­tract that prompted an open let­ter ear­lier this month from a pur­ported group of Mi­crosoft em­ploy­ees wor­ried the com­pany might be be­tray­ing its own ar­ti­fi­cial-in­tel­li­gence prin­ci­ples. Mi­crosoft reaf­firmed its re­solve to win the mil­i­tary con­tract in its own blog post last week, promis­ing to ad­dress any eth­i­cal con­cerns that may arise if it ends up work­ing on the project.

Google de­cided not to bid for the same mil­i­tary con­tract that Mi­crosoft wants af­ter some its own em­ploy­ees protested. The com­pany con­cluded the con­tract, po­ten­tially worth $10 bil­lion, didn’t com­ply with its AI prin­ci­ples , which pre­clude the tech­nol­ogy from be­ing used to “cause or di­rectly fa­cil­i­tate in­jury to peo­ple.”

The com­pany’s AI For So­cial Good pro­gram was al­ready in the works be­fore Google em­ploy­ees raised ob­jec­tions about the mil­i­tary con­tract, said Jeff Dean, a se­nior fel­low over­see­ing AI.

Google’s non­profit arm will an­nounce the win­ners of its AI grants next spring at an an­nual com­pany con­fer­ence.

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