Google has announced the launch of the Digital Futures Project, an initiative aimed at promoting understanding and addressing the opportunities and challenges of artificial intelligence (AI). The project will support researchers, organize meetings, and foster debate on public policy solutions to encourage responsible development of AI. As part of the project, Google.org will establish a $20 million fund to provide grants to leading think tanks and academic institutions worldwide in order to facilitate dialogue and inquiry into the technology.
AI has the potential to improve our lives and tackle complex challenges such as disease prevention, urban planning, and disaster prediction. However, it also raises concerns about fairness, bias, misinformation, security, and the future of work. Addressing these questions will require collaboration among industry, academia, governments, and civil society.
The Digital Futures Fund will support independent thinkers with a range of perspectives and expertise to explore various issues related to AI. These include the impact of AI on global security and how it can enhance the security of institutions and enterprises. It also examines the impact of AI on labor and the economy, steps to transition the workforce for AI-enabled jobs, and how governments can utilize AI to boost productivity and economic growth. Additionally, the fund aims to promote responsible AI innovation by exploring governance structures and cross-industry efforts.
The inaugural grantees of the Digital Futures Fund include 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, Leadership Conference Education Fund, MIT Work of the Future, R Street Institute, and SeedAI. The fund will support institutions from countries worldwide.
Google has been committed to responsible AI development and has published a set of AI Principles in 2018 to guide its work. The company has also established a governance team to ensure the implementation of these principles through rigorous reviews of new systems. Furthermore, Google’s teams regularly publish industry-leading research on issues like fairness, equity, security, privacy, and safety. However, the company acknowledges that getting AI right requires collaboration beyond any one company.
Google hopes that the Digital Futures Project and the associated fund will support other organizations in academia and civil society to conduct independent research on AI. By doing so, they aim to ensure that this transformative technology benefits everyone.