In-brief: Alphabet, IBM, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon are teaming to pioneer ethical guidelines for artificial intelligence, the New York Times reported.
The New York Times is reporting on a new cross-industry effort by some of the U.S.’s leading technology firms to pioneer standards of ethics in the arena of artificial intelligence (AI).
According to the report, researchers at Google’s parent company, Alphabet, Amazon, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft have been meeting to discuss the impact of artificial intelligence on jobs, transportation and “even warfare.”
From the article:
The specifics of what the industry group will do or say — even its name — have yet to be hashed out. But the basic intention is clear: to ensure that A.I. research is focused on benefiting people, not hurting them, according to four people involved in the creation of the industry partnership who are not authorized to speak about it publicly.
Though artificial intelligence and automation have been supplanting work done by humans for decades, the pace of change has picked up as advancements in remote sensing, machine learning and artificial intelligence have, for the first time, created the possibility that even traditional jobs like cab driver, teamster or accountant might be wholly replaced by computers.
Just this week, for example, Walmart said it would be cutting 7,000 jobs as a result of automation of accounting and invoicing positions within the massive retail organization. Fast food chains like McDonald’s and Wendys are replacing cashiers with kiosks for ordering meals. Even in information security, artificial intelligence is likely to replace a range of low-level analyst work in the next decade. While that won’t likely lead to a glut of information security pros, it will push the bar for entry-level work higher.
While humans need not fear robot overlords anytime soon, the impact of automation on human societies and economies will be profound. A report by Stanford University released last week, the One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (PDF), predicted that the coming decades will see “increasingly useful applications of AI, with potentially profound positive impacts on our society and economy.” At the same time, the report warned “many of these developments will spur disruptions in how human labor is augmented or replaced by AI, creating new challenges for the economy and society more broadly.”
Decisions made in the coming years could have profound, long-term impacts, the report warns. Among other things, AI researchers, developers, social scientists, and policymakers need to balance the”imperative to innovate with mechanisms to ensure that AI’s economic and social benefits are broadly shared across society.”