Moving AI ethics beyond guidelines

The recent row over a leading researcher’s departure from Google raises questions about the role and remit of AI ethics teams and the inadequacy of frameworks to deal with moral complexities

With the far-reaching impact that artificial intelligence has on our everyday lives, companies’ AI ethics teams bear the colossal burden of ensuring that this technology is safe and fair, say the writers. PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO

The departure of artificial intelligence (AI) researcher Timnit Gebru from Google under controversial circumstances has raised discomfiting questions about the company's stance on AI ethics. It has also revealed the challenges of practising AI ethics on the front line of this field.

Dr Gebru, who was co-lead of Google's Ethical AI team, had earned widespread acclaim for her earlier work highlighting that AI facial recognition was less capable of identifying women and people of colour, thereby perpetuating discrimination if unchecked.

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