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Google commits $20M to responsible AI initiatives

As concerns over the risks of artificial intelligence (AI) grow louder, Google has pledged $20 million to support efforts addressing the challenges and opportunities in the sector.

Early in the week, Google announced the creation of the Digital Futures Project, designed to house all of its initiatives to ensure responsible usage and development of AI. According to an official disclosure, the tech giant says the project will support researchers and foster healthy debates on “public policy solutions” for AI.

One arm of the ambitious project will see Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL), set up a $20 million fund for leading universities and think tanks involved in probing AI safety. Google says the fund will also support independent researchers investigating the impact of AI across global security, labor, economy, productivity, and governance structures best suited to “promote responsible AI innovation.”

Several institutions have already received the first tranche of funds, including the Aspen Institute, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Leadership Conference Education Fund, SeedAI, and R Street Institute.

“Getting AI right will take more than any one company alone,” said Director Brigitte Hoyer Gosselink. “We hope the Digital Futures Project and this fund will support many others across academia and civil society to advance independent research on AI that helps this transformational technology benefit everyone.”

Google pledged its commitment to safe AI development after establishing a set of AI principles in 2018 and floating a governance team to ensure full compliance. However, the company ran into regulatory trouble over the launch of its generative AI chatbot Bard in the European Union (EU) after the Irish data watchdog halted its advance over a lack of proper disclosures.

Learning the lessons from the incident, the company has taken a proactive approach towards achieving compliance. In June, Google announced that it had entered an arrangement to provide the U.K. with early and priority access to its future AI tools in a preemptive step at achieving regulatory compliance.

Google is experimenting with an invisible watermark tool as a solution against the indiscriminate use of deep fake, reiterating its commitment to voluntary AI safeguards.

AI forum draws attendance from leading players

Leading AI developers, including Google, OpenAI, and Meta (NASDAQ: META), are expected to appear by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer at an AI forum. The meeting agenda is expected to revolve around AI policy and regulation discussions, with developers expected to share their internal processes to ensure safe usage.

Other attendees include hardware manufacturer Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), and civil rights organizations. Nine more meetings are expected to be hosted by Senator Schumer in the coming weeks, with the lineup expected to change to include more industry players.

Critics have warned that rampant AI development poses dire risks to Web3, finance, healthcare, security, and education, urging authorities to roll out robust rules.

Watch: Does AI know what it’s doing?

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