Responsible Artificial Intelligence for Everyone

Stewart Smith

Archive article - published on January 18 2021

When you start researching Google Cloud AI, you realize how far the technology has reached. The applications are as varied as the number of businesses relying on AI to solve problems. The titles on Google's AI blog hint at the multitude of uses:

AI helps protect Australian wildlife in fire-affected areas

Can AI make me trendier?

Using AI to identify the aggressiveness of prostate cancer

What if you could turn your voice into any instrument?

Say goodbye to hold music

A big step for flood forecasts in India and Bangladesh

The list goes on, and it's clear that Google AI will significantly impact the world for many years to come. Despite these benefits, however, there are concerns that artificial intelligence will eradicate human jobs, perpetuate fake media, invade our privacy, and create a multitude of other ethical concerns. These concerns are not confined to a few conspiracy theorists. A 2019 study conducted by Mozilla suggests that nearly a third of the 66,800 people surveyed had concerns about AI. It's because of apprehensions like these that Google has taken a stand for responsible innovation with AI.

A Principled Approach to AI

By its admission, Google recognizes that AI, while a powerful catalyst for innovation, also presents some significant challenges. As a company not typically known to take a "wait-and-see" position, Google published a set of principles to guide its AI efforts. That happened in 2018. Google realized that this was a starting point. Any document that would attempt to corral a set of principles for something as fluid as artificial intelligence would need to morph with the latest discoveries, trends, and applications.

Today, Google maintains an entire web page of nearly a thousand words that emphasize its commitment to develop AI technology responsibly and establish specific application areas it will not pursue.

Google is overwhelmingly clear in its commitment to society when it comes to artificial intelligence. It states that its number one priority is to be socially beneficial. For Google, AI's greatest impact will occur when everyone has access to it and when applications are built with everyone's benefit in mind. That focus extends to ideas like ensuring that algorithms help to reduce unfair bias and that systems promote safety and accountability to humans. Naturally, the company also expects that AI should enhance privacy, not rob people of it. Google's stated principles also challenge innovators to maintain the highest standards of scientific excellence.


Minding the Slippery Slope

Anyone watching Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1984 film, Terminator, has glimpsed a fanciful look at artificial intelligence. While the rise of machines or a neural network like Skynet achieving self-awareness remain a reality only in Hollywood studios, there are today some genuine applications of AI that may be cause for concern.

Google takes a firm stance on applications of artificial intelligence it will not pursue. Specifically, any technology that causes, or threatens, harm of any kind will not be designed or deployed by the company. This extends to weapons designed to injure humans, technologies that surveil outside of accepted norms, and any system that undermines human rights. Google sees this as part of its social responsibility to create responsible AI for everyone.

An Ethical Matter for Most Businesses

If you've read this far, you may be thinking, "OK, Google has a value system surrounding AI. So what does that have to do with my business?" Depending on the business you're in, perhaps a lot. In a recent survey by Deloitte, 83 percent of respondents stated they saw either "moderate" or "substantial" benefits to cognitive technologies like machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, and computer vision. To remain competitive, most businesses are going to need to adopt AI in one form or another.

Adopting artificial intelligence means considering things like data privacy. At its core, AI requires robust and modern data pipelines. Collection and storage of that data to meet regulatory standards like GDPR and the U.S. federal data privacy laws require careful planning and implementation. Of course, there are other areas of focus, such as facial recognition, which, according to companies like Microsoft, are ripe for abuse.

While it's unlikely we'll see machines controlling humans or threatening our safety, at least for now, AI has the potential to create anxiety in the workplace. The fear of job loss, for instance, is one issue companies will need to address and find a balance between using AI to automate tasks and growing their workforces.

An ethical approach to AI creates trust with employees, suppliers, and customers. Navigating those waters, however, is not easy. A trusted partner can help you see your way through. WALT Labs prides itself on being a leading Google Partner. Daily it helps businesses of all sizes migrate to the Cloud and modernize their workloads through artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies.

Responsible Artificial Intelligence for Everyone

Consult an expert today to see how Google AI can advance your business ethically and safely.

Stewart Smith
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