Principles of Google’s AI
Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, has published a list of 7 ethical principles related to the development of artificial intelligence, which the Mountain View company is now committed to respect.
Pichai said that while AI technology has brought many benefits to consumers and businesses, Google realizes that the technology “will have a significant impact on society in many years to come” and that management “feels a deep responsibility to get this right.”
Pichai wrote that AI applications will be reviewed to ensure that they are socially beneficial (1), they do not create or reinforce unfair bias (2), they are safe (3), they are accountable to the people (4), they incorporate privacy design principles (5), they are consistent with standards of scientific excellence (6) and that theyare available for uses that respect the above principles (7).
The principles have been published on the Google‘s Blog after a conflict within Google opposed thousands of employees to management. Employees protested against the company’s involvement in the Maven project – a controversial collaboration between Google and the US Department of Defense. In April, more than 4000 Mountain View employees signed a petition calling for the Google management to stop working on the Maven project and promise never to build Warcraft related technology.
Considering this incident, one of the most interesting points of this blogpost is the fact that Google refuses to develop “technologies that cause or are likely to cause overall harm. Where there is a material risk of harm, we will proceed only where we believe that the benefits substantially outweigh the risks, and will incorporate appropriate safety constraints.”
However, publishing these great principles will not prevent Google from working with governments or armies because the company points out that it “will continue to work with governments and the military in many other areas“.
The publication of these guiding principles is considered by some as being a mere PR stunt. Its sole purpose is to repare the damage caused by Google’s partnership with the Pentagon. Sundar Pichai probably also hopes that after removing Google’s early slogan “Don’t be evil“, these guiding principles will help the company reposition itself as a leader on ethical issues.