In a move no one saw coming, the big decision makers at Google decided to permanently dissolve the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Ethics Council permanently.
According to a recent piece from OANN, “The council, launched on March 26, was meant to provide recommendations for Google and other companies and researchers working in areas such as facial recognition software, a form of automation that has prompted concerns about racial bias and other limitations.” The primary focus of the council was to determine voluntary measures that private companies could put in place to discuss what can be done to ensure that AI can’t be used as a way to cause harm to human users and global exams. The main concern seems to be more of a conflict of personalities amongst council members and less to do with competing ideas regarding AI in our lives.
The council, wanting to dispel any rumors circulating as a result of Google’s decision to shut it down, released the following statement, that “it’s become clear that in the current environment, ATEAC can’t function as we wanted. So we’re ending the council and going back to the drawing board.” An extended investigation conducted by CNN showed that a large number of Google employees signed an open letter stating they would not support nor endorse the existence of the council so long as one of the members – Kay Coles James, the president of the Heritage foundation – due to her conservative social and political beliefs.
It is incredibly troubling that because of a difference of political opinions, the opportunities for human advancement in regards to the further understanding of the opportunities and threats of rogue and unfettered artificial intelligence are slowed down because of personal differences. What would be important to understand is that diversity of thought is key in regards to discussing and creating solutions to the issues at hand since these developments and advancements impact everyone on earth, regardless of race, sex, creed, or worldviews.
For now, Google has essentially pressed the reset button on the council, and because of the pressure from the angered employees will potentially stack the council with members who lack a real embodiment of diversity of thought. As of now, a left-leaning professor from Carnegie Mellon University declined an invitation to join the council when the controversy started due to its stigma against diversity of thought, showing that the mindset towards the council was far from homogeneous. The Heritage Foundation did not respond to CNN for a comment on the issue.
Sources: OANN, CNN