Google AI ethics seems to be disintegrating in less than a weeks time

Last week, Google announced the formation of an Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC), an ethics board appointed to oversee AI development within the company.

But all isn’t well with Google’s AI advisory. Less than a week after the announcement, it’s falling apart. This may jeopardize Google’s chance of winning more military cloud-computing contracts.

On Saturday, Alessandro Acquisti, a behavioral economist and privacy researcher, said he won’t be serving on the council. “While I’m devoted to research grappling with key ethical issues of fairness, rights and inclusion in AI, I don’t believe this is the right forum for me to engage in this important work,’’ Acquisti said on Twitter. He didn’t respond to a request for comment.

A Google employee petition has also surfaced demanding the removal of Kay Coles James, president of the infamous right-wing Heritage Foundation think tank and a vocal opponent of equal-rights laws for LGBT people, from the ATEAC, boasting 855 signatures as of Monday evening.

Google has faced pushback from employees on topics related to artificial intelligence before also. Last year, around 4,000 employees signed a petition demanding the company to refrain from building technologies that can be used in warfare, after the employees came to know about the company’s Pentagon Project Maven program, which used AI to enhance drone strikes. However, Google said it wouldn’t renew its contract which ended in March.

Google has proven their definition of ethics is quite a bit different from the rest of ours.


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