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Google launches global council to advise on AI and tech ethics

FILE PHOTO: Journalists following a press conference during the opening of the new Alphabet, the Google Berlin office in Berlin, Germany, 22 January 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc. Google said on Tuesday was the launch of a global advisory council to consider ethical issues around artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies.

The council, which is scheduled to publish a report at the end of 2019, includes technology experts, digital ethicists, and people with public policy backgrounds, Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice president for global affairs, said at a Massachusetts Institute of Technology conference.

The group is intended to provide recommendations to Google and other companies and researchers working in areas such as facial recognition software, a form of automation that has led to concerns about racial bias and other limitations.

“We want to make the most informed and thoughtful conversations that we can,” Walker on the stage of the MIT Technology Review event in San Francisco. “We want to sit down with the council and see what agenda they want.”

Google already has its own internal AI principles, which, among other provisions, bars the California-based tech company from the use of AI for the development of weapons.

The eight-member Advanced Technology External Advisory Board with Joanna Bryson, a professor in computer science at the University of Bath; William J. Burns, a former US under-secretary of foreign affairs, and Dyan Gibbens, chief executive of Houston-based drone startup Trumbull, according to a Google blog.

The council will meet four times, starting in April, the blog post said.

Reporting by Paresh Dave; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Rosalba O’brien

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