Mountain View search giant Google has released a list of seven core principles that will inform the company’s future artificial intelligence (AI) research and development efforts.
Among Google’s principles are accountability, privacy, scientific excellence, safety and the avoidance of bias.
“These principles set out our commitment to develop technology responsibly and establish specific application areas we will not pursue,” reads an excerpt from Google’s AI principles website.
It’s interesting to note is that, in addition to the seven guiding principles, Google also established that it will not pursue AI research in four specific areas.
Google will not build “technologies that cause or are likely to cause overall harm”; “weapons or other technologies whose principal purpose or implementation is to cause or directly facilitate injury to people”; “technologies that gather or use information for surveillance violating internationally accepted norms”; and “technologies whose purpose contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights.”
In effect, Google has stated that it won’t allow its AI technology to negatively impact the lives of others.
It’s important to note, however, that Google’s AI principles don’t specifically rule out military applications, nor do the principles explicitly state that Google will not allow government or law enforcement entities to use its AI technology to police citizens.
Interestingly enough, in a Google Blog post attributed to Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene, the company reaffirms its commitment to supporting the U.S. “government, the military and our veterans.”
“For example, we will continue to work with our government organizations on cybersecurity, productivity tools, healthcare and other forms of cloud initiatives,” said Greene, in a June 7th, 2018 Google blog post.
Greene further elaborated on a specific contract between Google and the U.S. Department of Defence’s (DOD) Maven initiative.
“This contract involved drone video footage and low-res object identification using AI, saving lives was the overarching intent,” said Greene.
Greene added that Google will continue to honour its contract with the DOD, but that the company will not pursue further contracts with the Maven project.