Google, Microsoft, Facebook and More Try to Assuage Fears of Artificial Intelligence

Several tech icons such as Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak and others have warned of a bleak future with artificial intelligence putting many of us out of jobs and pretty much controlling everything. There are countless movies and television shows with plot lines of artificial intelligence running amok, killing humans and taking over the world.

In 2014, Elon Musk said artificial intelligence was “summoning the demon.” Well, six tech giants—Google, Facebook, IBM, Amazon and Microsoft–are teaming up to help battle misconceptions about AI. Ford and Toyota are investing in AI for self-driving cars. Google’s DeepMind is using AI to reduce power consumption.

The new nonprofit group is called the, Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society. The organization, co-chaired by DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman and Microsoft Technical Fellow Eric Horvitz, wants to “maximize [the] potential [of AI] and ensure it benefits as many people as possible.” In a Wednesday conference call with members of the media, Suleyman said:

The reason we all work on AI is because we passionately believe its ability to transform our world. The positive impact of AI will depend not only on the quality of our algorithms, but the on the amount of public discussion … to ensure AI is understood by and benefits as many people as possible.

Horvitz then added:

Questions come up about the transparency of our systems and the ability for us to explain ourselves. The best way forward is with an inclusiveness and open dialogue.

The organization’s website also lists eight main principles to guide its discussions such as:

We will educate and listen to the public.
We strive to create a culture of cooperation, openness, and trust.
We are committed to open research and dialogue on the ethical, social, economic, and legal implications of AI.

In addition, Horvitz and Suleyman say they are not a regulatory body seeking to self-govern the industry. Suleyman went on to share:

We’re here to learn from one another about things that are working well and not working well, and to be open about the areas of work we’re struggling on.

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