Google has confirmed that it has dismantled a think tank and ethics committee on artificial intelligence, a few days after a controversy erupted around certain members. The dismantling of the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC) came after the mobilization of a group of Google employees against the presence on this committee of the president of the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation. The presence in this committee of an executive of a company specializing in drones has also revived fears of the use of artificial intelligence for military purposes, according to the site. Vox news, first media to have revealed the dismantling of the committee.
” It has become clear that in this environment, ATEAC cannot function as expected ”Google told AFP on Thursday. ” We therefore put an end to the committee and resume our reflection from the beginning ”, continued the Alphabet subsidiary. Google added that it was looking for other ways to gather outside opinions on the means to be implemented for a responsible use of this technology. At the origin of the mobilization, an online petition called on the internet giant to remove Kay Coles James, the president of the Heritage Foundation, from this committee, because of his public positions ” anti-trans, anti-LGBT and anti-immigrant ”.
The text was signed by 2,300 people, including Google employees and academics. The signatories feared that Ms.James’ positions risked infusing the development of the technology of the future, and that artificial intelligence programs would incorporate a discriminatory bias from the start. The controversy has come as the tech world ponders how to deliver on AI’s ambitious promises while weighing the risks it poses, from the technology’s turning against its users, to the more serious one. , a seizure of power against its creators.