Google Promises Its A.I. Will Not Be Used for Weapons
Google Promises Its A.I. Will Not Be Used for Weapons
Google CEO bans autonomous weapons in new AI guidelines
09 June, 2018, 21:49
In addition to a ban on autonomous weaponry at Google, the company will also seek to avoid the creation of AI whose principle objective is to injure or harm human beings as well as "Technologies that gather or use information for surveillance violating internationally accepted norms".
But Google's new limits appear to have done little to slow the Pentagon's technological researchers and engineers, who say other contractors will still compete to help develop technologies for the military and national defense.
It planted its ethical flag on use of AI just days confirming it would not renew a contract with the United States military to use its AI technology to analyse drone footage.
Google is banning the development of artificial-intelligence software that can be used in weapons, chief executive Sundar Pichai said Thursday, setting strict new ethical guidelines for how the tech giant should conduct business in an age of increasingly powerful AI.
Some Google employees and outside critics cautiously welcomed the principles, although they voiced reservations, particularly about language that gives the company ample wiggle room in future decisions.
Google Cloud CEO Diane Green confirmed that the company will not seek to renew its government contract for Project Maven.
"At Google, we use AI to make products more useful-from email that's spam-free and easier to compose, to a digital assistant you can speak to naturally, to photos that pop the fun stuff out for you to enjoy".
"We will not be pursuing follow on contracts for the Maven project", Greene said, but noted that the company would see the current contract through.
More than 4,000 Google employees signed a petition protesting Google's contract, and some staffers resigned over it. "Google is already battling with privacy issues when it comes to AI and data; I don't know what would happen if the media starts picking up a theme that Google is secretly building AI weapons or AI technologies to enable weapons for the Defense industry". In response, they circulated an internal letter, arguing that "Google should not be in the business of war". AI projects need to "be socially beneficial" and "avoid creating or reinforcing unfair bias". And they should only be made available for purposes that fall in line with the above.
The principles might bring to mind sci-fi legend Isaac Asimov's "Three Laws of Robotics", which boil down to robots shouldn't harm humans, they should protect them. Military applications Google will still pursue include those in "cybersecurity, training, military recruitment, veterans' healthcare, and search and rescue". "These collaborations are important and we'll actively look for more ways to augment the critical work of these organizations and keep service members and civilians safe".
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