Blackstone CEO donates $190M to Oxford for AI ethics research

The University of Oxford in England announced this week that it has received approximately $190 million from Stephen Schwarzman, founder and CEO of U.S. investment firm Blackstone, marking the largest donation to the university since the Renaissance.

The funding will establish the Stephen A. Schwarzman Centre for the Humanities, scheduled to open in 2024. The sprawling complex will be home to, among other humanities department facilities, a new Institute for Ethics in Artificial Intelligence.

"What motivates me, among other things, is to have the core of humanities, the basic values of people, be considered in the context of technological development," Mr. Schwarzman told The Telegraph in an interview about the donation. "Technology, left unaffected, would trample over certain aspects of human behavior and human opportunities."

He added: "If we used the study of the humanities to reaffirm western values and set up a new institute for artificial intelligence that values ethics, all of this together would be a very unique opportunity to help the world adjust to changing times."

In 2018, Mr. Schwarzman donated $350 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to establish the Schwarzman College of Computing, focused on both advancing AI research and addressing related issues of ethics and policy.

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