The Ethics Board of Google shut down. LONDON – A separate group set up to oversee the artificial intelligence efforts of Google was shut down less than a fortnight after it was launched.
The Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC) was responsible for examining the ethics of AI, machine learning and facial recognition. One member resigned and calls were made for the removal of another. The debacle raises questions as to whether companies should establish such bodies. Google told the BBC: “It has become clear that ATEAC cannot function as we wanted in the current environment.
“This is how we end the council and return to the drawing board. We will continue to be responsible for the important issues AI raises in our work and will find different ways to get outside opinions on these topics. “There was an outcry about the appointment of Kay Coles James, who is president of the Heritage Foundation’s conservative think tank.
Thousands of Google employees signed a petition about what they described as “anti-trans, anti – LGBTQ and anti-immigrant” comments calling for her removal.
Board member Prof Alessandro Acquisti resigned at the weekend, tweeting: “While I’m dedicated to researching key ethical issues of fairness, rights, and inclusion in AI, I don’t think this is the right forum for me to be involved in this important issue.
The panel was announced at a Massachusetts Institute of Technology conference and was planning to meet four times in 2019. One of the eight members, Bath University professor Joanna Bryson, expressed anger at the decision of Google to pull the plug.
She tweeted: “I thought that Google had enough smart people to either communicate or improve decisions. But I was wrong, and the people who naively called me were right.”