Facebook Invests $7.5 Million to Launch AI Ethics Institute

Facebook is a founding partner of the TUM Institute for Ethics in Artificial Intelligence.

Facebook is investing $7.5 million Usd into an Ai ethics institute in Germany. The TUM Institute for Ethics in Artificial Intelligence is based out of the Technical University of Munich. The institute will explore fundamental issues affecting the use and impact of AI.

"We will explore the ethical issues of AI and develop ethical guidelines for the responsible use of the technology in society and the economy. Our evidence-based research will address issues that lie at the interface of technology and human values," said TUM Professor Dr. Christoph Lütge, who will lead the institute. 

AI is becoming more and more present in our lives but how and when we use it needs to be constantly under review.

"Core questions arise around trust, privacy, fairness or inclusion, for example, when people leave data traces on the internet or receive certain information by way of algorithms. We will also deal with transparency and accountability, for example in medical treatment scenarios, or with rights and autonomy in human decision-making in situations of human-AI interaction,” continues Lütge. 

Institute will contribute to the broad discussion around AI

TUM was ranked number 6 in the world for AI research by the Times Higher Education magazine. TUM is just one of many foundations around the world that are dedicated to monitoring and researching ethics in AI.

Facebook says “Through its work, the Institute will seek to contribute to the broader conversation surrounding ethics and AI, pursuing research that can help provide tangible frameworks, methodologies, and algorithmic approaches to advising AI developers and practitioners on ethical best practices to address real-world challenges.” 

Facebook has provided the initial investment for the launch of the foundation, but it will look for additional funding elsewhere to continue its work. Facebook says it may ‘share insights, tools, and industry expertise related to issues such as addressing algorithmic bias, to help Institute researchers focus on real-world problems that manifest at scale.’ 

Zuckerberg has 'limited' understanding of AI

Facebook has been public about its intent to invest more in AI, particularly in the area of home automation. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg got into a public tiff with Tesla CEO, Elon Musk last year after he told Silicon Valley Business Journal that talking negatively about AI was unnecessary, he was quoted by the journal saying, “I think people who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday scenarios — I just, I don’t understand it. It’s really negative, and in some ways, I actually think it is pretty irresponsible.”

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Musk, who has publicly stated his concern for the ethical use of A particularly around its potential to be used in weapons hit back in a Tweet, saying that the CEO’s knowledge on the subject of AI was ‘limited.’

Facebook has had a rough 12 months being embroiled in controversy over the way the company has handled users data and privacy. Hopefully, their financial dedication to the TUM foundation means the company is looking for assistance and guidance before launching any serious AI-powered features or products.