DeepMind's Mustafa Suleyman: A.I. Will Allow Us to Evolve as a Species

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Artificial intelligence will give us the chance to shed humanity’s biases and bring forth a future with less racism and prejudices, an expert has claimed. Speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in London on Monday, Google DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman said that A.I. presents a major opportunity to reshape society along new lines.

“The exciting thing about technology systems is it gives us an opportunity to critically reflect on how we’re designing systems that interact with the real world,” Suleyman said. “We should constantly attempt to do that in an open, transparent way, and try to rebuild our world our world with fewer of those biases and judgments that we want to shed as we move forward as a species and evolve.”

Suleyman discussed a recent ProPublica story about A.I. taking on racist biases. An example of this is TayTweets, Microsoft’s failed A.I. chatbot, which started posting abhorrent tweets hours after going online. Future systems, Suleyman explained, could better us if we design them to ensure situations like these never arise.

Suleyman interviewed by TechCrunch's Jordan Crook at TechCrunch Disrupt on Monday in London.

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“We are destined to project our biases and our judgments into our technical systems,” Suleyman said. “If we don’t think consciously as designers and technologists about how we build these systems we will unwittingly introduce those same biases into the systems.”

Part of these efforts, Suleyman explained, comes from the “Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society,” a collaboration announced in September between five tech industry giants that aims “to study and formulate best practices on A.I. technologies.” Google, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon have committed to fostering an open dialogue on A.I. ethics.

“We’ve invited an equal number of non-corporate, completely independent members to join us on the governing board of this new not-for-profit organization, which we’ll be announcing in early January,” Suleyman said.

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