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LinkedIn, eBay founders join USD 27 mln fund for ethical AI

Wednesday 11 January 2017 | 10:42 CET | News

The founders of both LinkedIn and eBay have each granted USD 10 million to a fund aimed at keeping artificial intelligence systems ethical and preventing AI systems that may harm society, Recode reported. LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman and eBay’s Pierre Omidyar join a USD 27 million fund that will be managed by MIT’s Media Lab and Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. An additional USD 5 million will come from the Knight Foundation while the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Jim Pallotta, founder of the Raptor Group, will each provide another USD 1 million. The new Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund expects to grow as new funders continue to come on board.

“One of the most critical challenges is how do we make sure that the machines we ‘train’ don’t perpetuate and amplify the same human biases that plague society,” said Joi Ito, director of MIT’s Media Lab, in a statement. The money will pay for research to investigate how socially responsible artificially intelligent systems can be designed to, for example, keep computer programmnes that are used to make decisions in fields like education, transportation and criminal justice accountable and fair. The group also hopes to explore ways to talk with the public about and foster understanding of the complexities of artificial intelligence.

The two universities will form a governing body along with Hoffman and the Omidyar Network to distribute the funds. The USD 20 million from Hoffman and the Omidyar Network are being given as a philanthropic grant, not an investment vehicle.



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