Google pulls plug on AI, tech advisory board

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Google canceled the artificial intelligence global advisory council it announced March 26 due to controversy among its board members, Vox reports.

The eight-member council, called the Advanced Technology External Advisory Council, was originally assembled with the intent of focusing on ethical issues introduced by AI and other emerging technologies. However, some group members have faced controversy since Google's announcement. On April 1, thousands of Google employees circulated a petition calling for Heritage Foundation President Kay Cole James's removal from the board, citing comments she has made about transgender people and immigration.

Board member Alessandro Acquisti, an IT and public policy professor at Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Mellon University, tweeted his resignation from the council March 30. He attributed his self-removal from the group to it being an improper assembly for him to "engage in this important work" on ethical issues in AI.

On April 4, Google added the following statement to its March 26 blog post announcing the creation of the council: "It's become clear that in the current environment, ATEAC can’t function as we wanted. So we’re ending the council and going back to the drawing board. We’ll continue to be responsible in our work on the important issues that AI raises, and will find different ways of getting outside opinions on these topics."

ATEAC would have provided recommendations to Google and other companies on AI technologies, such as facial recognition software.

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