Watchdog Puts Google’s Artificial Intelligence on Hold: Publication Delayed

Google has set up an Advanced Technology External Advisory Council (ATEAC) in 2019 to guide the company’s development of AI, but it only lasted eight days before the company dissolved it. The committee failed because Google wanted the ATEAC to meet just four times a year, expected its members to work pro bono, and it wasn’t clear which projects the committee would monitor, to whom it would report, or which executive(s) would act on its recommendations. Other companies, such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Merck, have set up AI watchdog boards or supervisory committees to oversee their AI efforts.

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched a review of the AI market, as it warned of threats from AI tools including the distribution of false or misleading information. The review will look at how the markets for foundation models could evolve, what opportunities and risks there are for consumers and competition, and producing “guiding principles” to support competition and protect consumers. The watchdog has been asked by ministers to consider how the development and use of AI can be supported against five principles including safety, transparency, fairness, accountability, and the ability of newcomers to challenge established players in AI.
The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation offers safeguards for people against the risks that a damaging automated decision is undertaken without the intervention of a human. The use of artificial intelligence by public bodies is to be monitored by Britain’s equality regulator to ensure technologies are not discriminating against people.

Experts have called for an AI watchdog to regulate automated decision-making, as algorithms can make bad decisions that seriously impact people’s lives. However, even if an AI watchdog were set up, it may find it hard to police algorithms because they are often very complex systems that are unpredictable, change over time, and are difficult to understand, even for the teams developing them.

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