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AI Ethics Council Shut Down By Google Within A Week Of Unveiling

AI Ethics Council Shut Down By Google Within A Week Of Unveiling
After announcing it just a week ago, US tech giant Google has announced the reversal of its plan to setting up of its new artificial intelligence ethics council. And just days ago, the removal of the president of a conservative think tank from the group was demanded a group of its employees.
Google has "become clear that in the current environment" the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council "can't function" as the company wanted, the company informed the media in a statement. "So we're ending the council and 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," Google said.
According to analysts and sources quite din the media, this decision by Google was taken after some 2,400 of its employees participated and signed a post on the website Medium which demanded that the company should immediately remove from the council one of its members - Kay Coles James, who id the president of conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation.
Google was "making clear that its version of 'ethics' values proximity to power over the well being of trans people, other LGBTQ people, and immigrants" by the addition of James in the council, said that post which was made public on Monday by a group of employees who called themselves Googlers Against Transphobia.
The issue of rights of LGBT has been openly opposed by Heritage. A number of recently posted tweets on Twitter by James which allegedly were critical of the proposed federal legislation like the Equality Act, which is being proposed with the aims to stopping any discrimination based on gender identity, sex and sexual orientation, were pointed out the group of Google employees in the post. The bill was called "anything but equality" by James in his tweets and had also added that it would "open every female bathroom and sports team to biological males."
Their supporters were thanked for their support and "unwillingness to compromise on hate" by Googlers Against Transphobia in a statement posted to Twitter late Thursday.
Google had unveiled the council on March 26. The council comprised of a number of individuals who were experts in the field where ethics and artificial intelligence collide. The council was created with the aim of enhancing its pledge of self regulation and self-governing the rapidly growing field of AI by Google.
There are a number of US tech companies such as Microsoft and Amazon that wants the government to formulate and enact rules related to specific applications of AI — such as facial-recognition technology. Currently there are no rules in the US that are specifically targeted or meant to regulate the use of AI.
His disagreement to join the Google Council was announced by Carnegie Mellon University professor Alessandro Acquisti shortly after the tech firm announced the setting up of the group. He didn't believe it was "the right forum" for him even though he was a firm believer of fairness and other AI issues, he clarified about his decision via twitter on Saturday.
There were no comments available from Heritage on the issue.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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