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Google: We Won’t Develop Deadly AI Weapons, But Will Help The Military

Google won't deploy AI to build military weapons: Pichai

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Google's new Search feature gives single result to certain queries. Pixabay
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After facing backlash over its involvement in an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered Pentagon project “Maven”, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has enphasised that the company will not work on technologies that cause or are likely to cause overall harm.

About 4,000 Google employees had signed a petition demanding “a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology”.

Following the anger, Google decided not to renew the “Maven” AI project with the US Defence Department after it expires in 2019.

“We will not design or deploy AI in weapons or other technologies whose principal purpose or implementation is to cause or directly facilitate injury to people,” Pichai said in a blog post late Thursday.

“We will not pursue AI in “technologies that gather or use information for surveillance violating internationally accepted norms,” the Indian-born CEO added.

“We want to be clear that while we are not developing AI for use in weapons, we will continue our work with governments and the military in many other areas like cybersecurity, training, military recruitment, veterans’ healthcare, and search and rescue,” Pichai noted.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai. (Wikimedia Commons)

Google will incorporate its privacy principles in the development and use of its AI technologies, providing appropriate transparency and control over the use of data, Pichai enphasised.

In a blog post describing seven “AI principles”, he said these are not theoretical concepts but “concrete standards that will actively govern our research and product development and will impact our business decisions”.

“How AI is developed and used will have a significant impact on society for many years to come. As a leader in AI, we feel a deep responsibility to get this right,” Pichai posted.

Google will strive to make high-quality and accurate information readily available using AI, while continuing to respect cultural, social, and legal norms in the countries where it operates.

Also Read: Diversity Issues Take Centre Stage at Google Shareholders’ Meet

“We will seek to avoid unjust impacts on people, particularly those related to sensitive characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, income, sexual orientation, ability, and political or religious belief,” Pichai noted.

Pichai said Google will design AI systems to be appropriately cautious, and seek to develop them in accordance with best practices in AI safety research.

“We will design AI systems that provide appropriate opportunities for feedback, relevant explanations, and appeal. Our AI technologies will be subject to appropriate human direction and control,” he added. (IANS)

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Google Rolls Out Gender Specific Translation to Reduce Bias

Google said it is also thinking about how to address non-binary gender in translations, though it is not part of this initial launch

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Google starts rolling out gender specific translation to reduce bias. Pixabay

In a bid to reduce gender biases in its translation service, Google has started rolling out a feature that provides feminine and masculine translations for some gender-neutral words on the Google Translate website.

The feature is currently available only for a few languages, although Google plans to bring it to more languages soon.

So one can now translate single words from English to languages like French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish. As of now, translations for short phrases and sentences that mention a person in a gender-neutral way is available for the English and Turkish language pair.

“In the future, we plan to extend gender-specific translations to more languages, launch on other Translate surfaces like our iOS and Android apps, and address gender bias in features like query auto-complete,” James Kuczmarski, Product Manager, Google Translate, said in a blog post on Thursday.

Google Translate learns from hundreds of millions of already-translated examples from the web.

Historically, it has provided only one translation for a query, even if the translation could have either a feminine or masculine form.

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A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

So when the model produced one translation, it inadvertently replicated gender biases that already existed.

For example, it would skew masculine for words like “strong” or “doctor,” and feminine for other words, like “nurse” or “beautiful.”

“Now you’ll get both a feminine and masculine translation for a single word – like ‘surgeon’ when translating from English into French, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish,” Kuczmarski said.

Also Read- Robots May Be Able to Perform C-Sections Soon

“You’ll also get both translations when translating phrases and sentences from Turkish to English. For example, if you type ‘o bir doktor’ in Turkish, you’ll now get ‘she is a doctor’ and ‘he is a doctor’ as the gender-specific translations,” Kuczmarski said.

The new feature is part of Google’s efforts to promote fairness and reduce bias in Machine Learning.

Google said it is also thinking about how to address non-binary gender in translations, though it is not part of this initial launch. (IANS)