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DeepMind becomes the second Alphabet company to disband an AI ethics panel

Google DeepMind becomes the second Alphabet company to close an AI ethics panel

This isn’t the time to rust in peace

GOOGLE PARENT Alphabet has disbanded another review panel related to its AI dealings.

A report in the Wall Street Journal tells of the closure of a UK-based panel that offered counsel to DeepMind, the AI company which Google’s parent company Alphabet bought in 2014.

The problems seem to stem this time from the board itself which has been questioning if it’s possible to fulfil its purpose given the amount of information it had access to, or rather didn’t.

More crucially, delegates were concerned that Google and DeepMind couldn’t be completely independent, which created a risk to privacy.

This all matters a lot because the panel was specifically brought together to examine the work of DeepMind Health, the part of the business working on collaborations with the NHS.

Although not as contentious as military applications, the question of involving a company the size of Google that makes its money primarily through advertising has made a lot of people uncomfortable.

Although DeepMind is clear that it operates entirely independently of Google, there has been criticism about the levels of medical data sharing between the NHS co-project and Google. The last thing you need is to have targetted adverts for kidney pie when you’re waiting for dialysis.

The news follows the dissolution of The Advanced Technology External Advisory Council last week, after just one week. The company had received widespread criticism, not least from employees, that the picks for the panel were highly inappropriate.

Given that Pichai Sundar has said on more than one occasion that Google is an AI-First company, losing two boards that advise on Google’s conduct and ethics surrounding AI is not exactly great PR, especially as nobody at Alphabet has yet mentioned what ‘Plan B’ is, following the end of the two panels and the issue of ethics isn’t going away. μ

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Source : Inquirer

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