Google cancels A.I. ethics panel after uproar

Google has nixed its panel for discussing AI issues, one week after it was announced.


And on Wednesday, Luciano Floridi, professor of philosophy and ethics of information at the University of Oxford and another person Google chose for the council, said that while he did not agree with the views of Coles James and the Heritage Foundation, he also felt he should nevertheless be involved.

“I wish Google had never asked Mrs. Coles James to advise it. But now that it has, since it has also asked for my own advice, I shall double my efforts and, insofar as a I can, help support the voice of reason and knowledge, and foster tolerance and mutual respect for individual choices and human diversity,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

On Thursday evening, Google canceled the whole project.

“It’s become clear that in the current environment, ATEAC can’t function as we wanted. So we’re ending the council and going back to the drawing board,” Google said in a statement affixed to the top of the announcement on Thursday. “We’ll continue to be responsible in our work on the important issues that AI raises, and will find different ways of getting outside opinions on these topics.”

Google employees also pushed back against Google’s collaboration with the U.S. military around artificial intelligence, and the company decided not to renew the contract. Additionally, Google said it wouldn’t submit a bid for a $10 billion contract for cloud work with the Defense Department.

Microsoft and Salesforce employees have also reacted to their companies’ actions in the past couple of years.

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