Published: Sun, April 07, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Google disbands AI ethics board after one week of existence

Google disbands AI ethics board after one week of existence

Luciano Floridi recommended Google to remove Kay Coles James from the board, all the while another board member, Alessandro Acquisti, leading behavioral economist and privacy researcher made a decision to leave the board altogether. Published Monday by a group of employees calling itself Googlers Against Transphobia, the post said that by adding James to the group, Google was "making clear that its version of "ethics" values proximity to power over the wellbeing of trans people, other LGBTQ people, and immigrants".

The controversy over Google naming a conservative thinker and alleged "anti-trans, anti-LGBT" supporter to a company advisory board has ended with the whole project scrapped.

Google originally brought the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC) on board in order to keep the company from crossing any serious ethical lines in its pursuit of artificial intelligence - but Google employees have claimed that the company had acted unethically in choosing who would sit on the council.

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The website Vox earlier reported the news.

Google has now abandoned plans for the committee, saying it was "going back to the drawing board". "We'll continue to be responsible in our work on the important issues that AI raises, and will find different ways of getting outside opinions on these topics", said the unnamed spokesperson to Vox. "Meanwhile, the inclusion of drone company CEO Dyan Gibbens reopened old divisions in the company over the use of the company's AI for military applications". Alessandro Acquisti announced his resignation through Twitter on Saturday, his statement state, he desires to be a part of such research that have firm ethical issues of rights, fairness, and presence in AI, and he believe this is not the right opportunity for him to involve. But it also included those with policy backgrounds, like James and members of former USA presidential administrations. The backlash grew large enough that a Google vice president addressed the controversy and solicited feedback on how the company could become more inclusive.

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