Friday, December 25, 2020

Latest News: Google tells its scientists to be more positive about AI

Latest News: Google tells its scientists to be more positive about AI

Latest News: Google tells its scientists to be more positive about AI

Researchers aren’t pleased with extra rounds of reviews

Google has asked its researchers to “strike a positive tone” and subject their research on “sensitive topics”, like AI (AI), to additional reviews, new reports have claimed.

Asking for an additional round of inspection is supposedly a part of new controls implemented by the search giant for papers on certain topics. 

If true, they aren’t getting to win Google any brownie points, which drew tons of flak earlier this month for allegedly firing Dr. Timnit Gebru, the co-lead of Google’s Ethical AI team, after supposed disagreements together with her work.

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Concern or censorship?

Reports now cite researchers and internal documents that show that in a minimum of three cases senior managers have requested authors to refrain from casting its technology in a negative light.

The report quotes one such document as saying “Advances in technology and therefore the growing complexity of our external environment are increasingly resulting in situations where seemingly inoffensive projects raise ethical, reputational, regulatory or legal issues.” 

In another alleged internal correspondence, a senior Google manager reviewing a study on content recommendation technology shortly before publication is quoted as asking authors to “take care to strike a positive tone.” 

The leaked documents, whose authenticity can’t be verified by TechRadar Pro, spell out a number of the “sensitive” topics as “the refining industry, China, Iran, Israel, COVID-19, home security, insurance, location data, religion, self-driving vehicles, telecoms and systems that recommend or personalize web page .”

The reports also quote senior Google AI researcher Mitchell as saying that this type of interference might be seen as a sort of censorship: 

“If we are researching the acceptable thing given our expertise, and that we aren't permitted to publish that on grounds that aren't in line with the high-quality referee, then we’re stepping into a significant problem of censorship.”


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