Sunday, January 17, 2021

Congress wants answers from Google on Timnit Gebru’s dismissal

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The latest letter is not directly related to the Algorithmic Liability Act, but it is part of the same movement by some members of Congress to craft legislation that would mitigate AI bias and other harms of automated systems based on it. the data. In particular, he intervenes in a context of increasing pressure for antitrust regulation. Earlier this month, the United States Federal Trade Commission filed an antitrust complaint against Facebook for its “anti-competitive behavior and unfair competitive methods”. Over the summer, House Democrats released a 449-page report on Big Tech’s monopoly practices.

The letter also comes against the backdrop of rising geopolitical tensions. As US-China relations hit an all-time low during the pandemic, US officials have stressed the strategic importance of emerging technologies like AI and 5G. The letter also raises this dimension, recognizing Google’s leadership in AI and its role in sustaining US leadership. But it is clear that this should not undermine regulatory action, an argument popularized by Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook. “To make sure America wins the AI ​​race,” the letter says, “American tech companies don’t just have to lead the world in innovation; they must also ensure that this innovation reflects the values ​​of our nation.

“Our letter should alert everyone in the tech industry, not just Google, that we are paying attention,” Clarke said in a statement to the MIT Technology Review. “Ethical AI is the battleground for the future of civil rights. Our concerns about recent developments are not just for one person; they talk about what the 21st century will look like if academic freedom and inclusion were second to other priorities. We cannot mitigate algorithmic bias if we prevent those who seek to research and study it. “

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