News  |    |  August 28, 2020

Google Offers to Help Others With the Tricky Ethics of AI

News article by Tom Simonite. Published in Wired.

Excerpt:

After learning its own ethics lessons the hard way, the tech giant will offer services like spotting racial bias or developing guidelines around AI projects.

Companies pay cloud computing providers like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google big money to avoid operating their own digital infrastructure. Google’s cloud division will soon invite customers to outsource something less tangible than CPUs and disk drives—the rights and wrongs of using artificial intelligence.

The company plans to launch new AI ethics services before the end of the year. Initially, Google will offer others advice on tasks such as spotting racial bias in computer vision systems, or developing ethical guidelines that govern AI projects. Longer term, the company may offer to audit customers’ AI systems for ethical integrity, and charge for ethics advice.

Google’s new offerings will test whether a lucrative but increasingly distrusted industry can boost its business by offering ethical pointers. The company is a distant third in the cloud computing market behind Amazon and Microsoft, and positions its AI expertise as a competitive advantage. If successful, the new initiative could spawn a new buzzword: EaaS, for ethics as a service, modeled after cloud industry coinages such as SaaS, for software as a service. [ . . . ]