Google pledges not to develop AI weapons

IvyMikeShot 16-9 nuclear bomb

Google CEO bans autonomous weapons in new AI guidelines

Google says it won't pursue AI uses that could cause physical injury or that tie into surveillance that violates "internationally accepted norms of human rights" or that present greater "material risk of harm" than potential benefits.

This commitment follows protests from staff over the USA military's research into using Google's vision recognition systems to help guide drones. Google then reportedly told its staff it would not bid to renew the contract, for the Pentagon's Project Maven, after it expires in 2019. It did say that it will continue its governmental and military work in other areas, however.

Some Google employees and outside critics cautiously welcomed the principles, although they voiced reservations, particularly about language that gives the company ample wiggle room in future decisions.

This comes in direct response to the company's work with the Department of Defense's Project Maven.

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If the research is successful, such computer systems would be able to think for themselves, scouring huge amounts of data, including satellite imagery, with a speed and accuracy beyond the capability of humans, to look for signs of preparations for a missile launch, according to more than half a dozen sources. Google CEO Sundar Pichai, wrote a blog post to accompany the release of the guidelines saying, "At Google, we use AI to make products more useful-from email that's spam-free and easier to compose, to a digital assistant you can speak to naturally, to photos that pop the fun stuff out for you to enjoy".

Weapons or other technologies whose principal goal or implementation is to cause or directly facilitate injury to people.

"We will not be pursuing follow on contracts for the Maven project", Greene said, but noted that the company would see the current contract through.

Google has also made other moves that it may not have done in the past, such as block apps and tools that try to avoid censorship in other countries from using its cloud platform.

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Google has said Duplex will identify itself so that wouldn't happen.

The principles come after massive backlash against Google's Project Maven, an A.I. drone warfare program that it contracts to the Pentagon. Google's general objectives for AI include being socially beneficial, avoiding creating or reinforcing unfair bias, being built and tested for safety, being accountable to people, incorporating privacy design principles, upholding high standards of scientific excellence, and being made available for uses that accord with these principles. "For example, we will continue to work with government organizations on cybersecurity, productivity tools, healthcare, and other forms of cloud initiatives".

The internal and external protests put Google in a hard position as it aims to recenter its business around the development and use of artificial intelligence.

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