Why tech billionaires are throwing millions at ethical AI

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Worried about a dystopian future in which AI rule the world and humans are enslaved to autonomous technology? You’re not alone. So are billionaires (kind of). First it was the Partnership on AI formed by Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and IBM. Then came Elon Musk and Peter Thiel’s recent investment in $1 billion research body, OpenAI.

Now, a new batch of tech founders are throwing money at ethical artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomous systems (AS). And experts say it couldn’t come sooner.

LinkedIn founder, Reid Hoffman, and eBay founder, Pierre Omidyar (through his philanthropic investment fund) donated a combined $20 million to the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund on Jan. 11 — helping ensure the future’s more “man and machine, not man versus machine,” as IBM CEO Ginny Rometty put it to WSJ Thursday.

But how will they put their praxis where their prose is, and what’s at stake if they don’t?

“There’s an urgency to ensure that AI benefits society and minimises harm,” said Hoffman in a statement distributed via fellow fund contributors, The Knight Foundation. “AI decision-making can influence many aspects of our world — education, transportation, healthcare, criminal justice and the economy — yet data and code behind those decisions can be largely invisible.”

That’s a sentiment echoed by Raja Chatila, executive committee chair for the IEEE Global Initiative for Ethical Considerations in Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Systems. The IEEE Standards Association aims educate and empower technologists in the prioritisation of ethical considerations that, in their opinion, will make or break our relationship with AI and AS.

The organisation’s Ethically Aligned Design study, published in Dec., is step one in what they hope will be the beginning of a smarter working relationship between humans and systems.

Read the source article at Mashable.