In a significant move that can potentially boost the responsible use of AI, Google.org, the charitable arm of the big tech company, has announced a $20 million initiative to fund AI research.
Academic institutions and think tanks working on AI projects would receive this grant for the ethical development and application of AI technology.
Terming the initiative “Digital Futures Project”, Google demonstrates its objective to support independent thinkers and academic institutions as they explore the full potential of AI for the benefit of society.
Hoyer Gosselink, the director of Google.org, focused on the potential benefits and challenges that the AI wave brings.
AI has the potential to make our lives easier and address some of society’s most complex challenges — like preventing disease, making cities work better, and predicting natural disasters.Hoyer Gosselink, the director of Google.org
However, Gosselink didn’t refrain from raising questions about the challenges surrounding the fairness, security, misinformation, and bias that the new technology involves.
The Digital Futures Project: Key Areas To Focus On
The Digital Futures Project is being executed to focus on several crucial areas. These include the context of global security with the increasing use of AI. This aspect would investigate the impact of AI on global security and how researchers can use the technology to secure enterprises and institutions.
Coming to the context of AI and the global workforce, the Project would explore how AI would impact the labor market and the economy. It would strive to find a viable way that could help the workforce embrace AI-enabled jobs in the future.
The project is also likely to explore the realm of AI governance. Researchers would be investigating cross-industry efforts and governance structures for the promotion of responsible innovation using AI.
The initiative has already announced its inaugural grantees. These include the following prestigious organizations.
- Brookings Institution
- Aspen Institute
- Center for a New American Security
- Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
- Institute for Security and Technology
- Center for Strategic and International Studies
- MIT Work of the Future
- Leadership Conference Education Fund
- R Street Institute
Evidently, these institutes have loads of responsibility to shoulder as their researchers work on developing responsible use cases of AI.
What Does Google’s Commitment to Nurture Responsible AI Mean for the Industry?
Google’s commitment to fostering responsible AI falls in line with the growing focus in the industry to embrace ethical AI practices. Microsoft, OpenAI, and some of the frontrunners in the AI industry established the Frontier Model Forum earlier this year to ensure the safe and responsible development of AI models.
Moreover, President Biden met with key AI industry leaders to discuss voluntary protective measures for AI technologies.
Interestingly, the AI principles of Google that the company published in 2018 also highlighted its commitment to adopt a responsible stance while developing AI.
However, Google has encountered challenges and scrutiny while delivering these principles. Google aims to lead the way in promoting responsible AI development despite these setbacks.
The Congress is bracing up for a closed-door meeting on AI this week.
This meeting would feature prominent figures like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk, among other tech leaders. Thus, the discussion around the responsible use of AI and its effect on the wider society would take center stage.