Economy

Google: Our AI won't be a weapon

Google: Our AI won't be a weapon”

The new guidelines come after weeks of internal turmoil as employees threatened to or did actually resign in opposition to agreements Google had made with the federal government to leverage their AI capabilities for the US military. Google has said Duplex will identify itself so that wouldn't happen.

Google pledged not to use its powerful artificial intelligence for weapons, illegal surveillance and technologies that cause "overall harm".

The new principles follow months of debate inside Google over AI technology it had developed for the US military for analyzing drone footage as part of what was known as Project Maven.

In the post, Pichai spells out the principles that should be considered when creating AI as well as applications of AI that Google will not pursue.

"We recognize that such powerful technology raises equally powerful questions about its use".

Peter Asaro, vice chairman of the International Committee for Robot Arms Control, said this week that Google's backing off from the project was good news because it slows down a potential AI arms race over autonomous weapons systems.

CEO Sundar Pichai says Google will pursue other government contracts including cybersecurity, search and rescue, and military recruitment.

Google's $800 billion parent company, Alphabet, is considered one of the world's leading authorities on AI and employs some of the field's top talent, including at its London-based subsidiary DeepMind. Google expects to have talks with the Pentagon over how it can fulfil its contract obligations without violating the principles outlined Thursday.

"We will not design or deploy AI in weapons or other technologies whose principal objective or implementation is to cause or directly facilitate injury to people", Pichai said in a blog post late Thursday.

But alongside these broad ethical guidelines, Google has also drawn a line in the sand for the AI it will not develop. I mean, sure, Google might not be the company developing such systems firsthand, but they are helping prop it up by working on defense contracts. "So we're looking at what's possible", John Everett, a deputy director of DARPA's Information Innovation Office, said in an interview Wednesday.



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