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AI policy, ethics under the spotlight

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Amazon, DeepMind/Google, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft have created a non-profit organisation that will work to advance public understanding of artificial intelligence technologies (AI) and formulate best practices on the challenges and opportunities within the field.
Academics, non-profits, and specialists in policy and ethics will be invited to join the Board of the organization, named the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society (Partnership on AI).
The objective of the Partnership on AI is to address opportunities and challenges with AI technologies to benefit people and society. Together, the organisation’s members will conduct research, recommend best practices, and publish research under an open license in areas such as ethics, fairness and inclusivity; transparency, privacy, and interoperability; collaboration between people and AI systems; and the trustworthiness, reliability and robustness of the technology. It does not intend to lobby government or other policymaking bodies.
There will be equal representation of corporate and non-corporate members on the board of this new organisation. The Partnership is in discussions with professional and scientific organisations, such as the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), as well as non-profit research groups including the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2), and anticipates announcements regarding additional participants in the near future.
AI technologies hold tremendous potential to improve many aspects of life, ranging from healthcare, education, and manufacturing to home automation and transportation. Through rigorous research, the development of best practices, and an open and transparent dialogue, the founding members of the Partnership on AI hope to maximize this potential and ensure it benefits as many people as possible.
“Over the past five years, we’ve seen tremendous advances in the deployment of AI and cognitive computing technologies, ranging from useful consumer apps to transforming some of the world’s most complex industries, including healthcare, financial services, commerce and the Internet of Things,” says Francesca Rossi, AI ethics researcher at IBM Research.
“This partnership will provide consumer and industrial users of cognitive systems a vital voice in the advancement of the defining technology of this century – one that will foster collaboration between people and machines to solve some of the world’s most enduring problems – in a way that is both trustworthy and beneficial.”