Governments and private companies are deploying AI systems at a rapid pace, but the public lacks the tools to hold these systems accountable when they fail. That’s one of the major conclusions in a new report issued by AI Now, a research group home to employees from tech companies like Microsoft and Google and affiliated with New York University. The report examines the social challenges of AI and algorithmic systems, homing in on what researchers call “the accountability gap” as this technology is integrated “across core social domains.” They put forward ten recommendations, including calling for government regulation of facial recognition (something Microsoft president Brad Smith also advocated for this week) and “truth-in-advertising” laws for AI products, so that companies can’t simply trade on the reputation of the technology to sell their services. Big tech companies have found themselves in an AI gold rush, charging into a broad range of markets from recruitment to healthcare to sell their services. But, as AI Now co-founder Meredith Whittaker, leader of Google’s Open Research Group, tells The Verge, “a lot of their claims about benefit and utility are not backed by publicly accessible scientific evidence.” Whittaker gives the example of IBM’s Watson system, which, during trial diagnoses at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, gave “unsafe and incorrect treatment recommendations,” according to leaked internal documents. “The claims that their marketing department had made about [their technology’s] near-magical properties were never substantiated by peer-reviewed research,” says Whittaker. The authors of AI Now’s report say this… [Read full story]
The Verge is an ambitious multimedia effort founded in 2011 to examine how technology will change life in the future for a massive mainstream audience.
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