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Facebook Funds New AI Ethics Institute at University of Munich

"AI poses complex problems which industry alone cannot answer”

By CBR Staff Writer

Facebook has partnered with the Technical University of Munich (TUM) to create an Institute of Ethics in Artificial Intelligence. The social media enterprise has committed $7.5 million (£5.8 million) to the institute over five years.

Prof. Christoph Lütge, holder of the Peter Löscher Endowed Chair of Business Ethics at TUM, said in a joint announcement  “We want to supply guidelines for the identification and answer of ethical questions of Artificial Intelligence… for the responsible use of the technology in society and the economy.”

The institute will use evidence–based research to investigate issues at the heart of human values and how they interlace with emerging technology. It will tackle core issues such as privacy, trust, inclusion and bias.

“We will also deal with transparency and accountability, for example in medical treatment scenarios, or with rights and autonomy in human decision-making in situations of human-AI interaction.” stated Prof Lütge.

Facebook AI and Ethics

Artificial intelligent is being incorporated into most business sectors in one form or another. Online retailors use AI algorithms to provider customised shopping experiences; industry is using AI to increase human and machine efficiency, while others are using it to automate processes entirely.

Research from Gartner today found that AI implementation by organisations has grown by 270 percent over the last four years and tripled in the past year.

Chris Howard research VP at Gartner wrote in the research that: “Four years ago, AI implementation was rare, only 10 per cent of survey respondents reported that their organisations had deployed AI or would do so shortly.”

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“If you are a CIO and your organisation doesn’t use AI, chances are high that your competitors do and this should be a concern,” he notes.

Facebook use AI-powered programs to run its platform, but the company is also heavily invested in AI research as a whole, across software infrastructure, computer vision and deep learning, to name just three areas of focus.

Joaquin Quiñonero Candela, Director, Applied Machine Learning, in a recent blog post wrote: “At Facebook, ensuring the responsible and thoughtful use of AI is foundational to everything we do — from the data labels we use, to the individual algorithms we build, to the systems they are a part of.”

“However, AI poses complex problems which industry alone cannot answer, and the independent academic contributions of the Institute will play a crucial role in furthering ethical research on these topics.”

Facebook has provided the initial funding for the institute.

The AI ethics institute will seek future funding from agencies and partners and will not be reliant on Facebook to operate, it said.

See Also: Thales and Wales Partner to Build £20 Million National Digital Centre

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