Sep 11, 2023 - Technology

Exclusive: Google pledges $20 million for responsible AI fund

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Illustration of Google's logo with the two "O's" forming the eyes of a concerned robot.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Google's philanthropic arm is investing $20 million in a new Digital Futures Project and an accompanying fund designed to help ensure AI reaches its promise and avoids potential pitfalls.

Why it matters: Google says it wants broad participation to help answer societal questions such as how AI impacts global security, how it will affect the labor market and how governments can use AI to boost productivity and economic growth.

Details: Google says the project will "support researchers, organize convenings and foster debate on public policy solutions to encourage the responsible development of AI."

  • The fund will support academic and nonprofit institutions from countries around the globe.
  • Among the first recipients are: the Aspen Institute, Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for a New American Security, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Institute for Security and Technology, MIT Work of the Future, R Street and SeedAI.

Between the lines: Critics have warned that AI creates or exacerbates a number of societal challenges, including algorithmic bias, misinformation and the existential risk of 0ut-of-control computers.

What they're saying: "We've said that it will take the proverbial village — collaboration and deep engagement from all of us — to get AI right," Google.org's Brigitte Hoyer Gosselink said in a statement to Axios.

  • "We're optimistic about AI's opportunity to make our lives easier and address societal problems from health and medicine to climate change and natural disaster preparation," she said. "But we need responsible approaches to get this right. This project and fund are designed to support more research, dialogue and ensure we can harness the full potential of AI."
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