Google's reputation with AI researchers, EU AI regulations, and more!

Last Week in AI #112

Mini Briefs

Google is poisoning its reputation with AI researchers

The recent firings of Timnit Gebru and Margaret Mitchell, co-leads of Google’s Ethical AI team, have sparked enormous backlash against the company. Just as Google has aimed to place itself as a responsible center for AI research, its recent actions have resulted in a potentially irreversible loss of reputation. Scientists have raised concerns about Google’s willingness to suppress research while Google employees have quit in the wake of the firings. Google’s position as one of the most impactful companies pursuing AI research means that the effects of lost trust are pervasive.

Europe seeks to limit use of AI in society

With GDPR, Europe has shown itself to be more willing to regulate novel technologies than other nations around the world. Recently proposed EU regulations on artificial intelligence include a number of rules, including outright bans on AI systems that could manipulate human behavior and AI systems used for social scoring. The regulations aim to implement intense oversight for AI systems deemed to be high-risk and impose fines on companies that fail to comply with regulations. Experts have called the language of the regulations vague and open to loopholes, and have raised the concern that the EU needs to balance ensuring AI systems are beneficial with maintaining competitiveness.

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  • AI Is Not Actually an Existential Threat to Humanity, Scientists Say - “We encounter artificial intelligence (AI) every day. AI describes computer systems that are able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. When you search something on the internet, the top results you see are decided by AI.”

  • Geoffrey Hinton has a hunch about what’s next for AI - “Back in November, the computer scientist and cognitive psychologist Geoffrey Hinton had a hunch. After a half-century’s worth of attempts—some wildly successful—he’d arrived at another promising insight into how the brain works and how to replicate its circuitry in a computer.”


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