Google’s DeepMind Health Move Raises Questions About AI Ethics

You begin to get the feeling that when big tech makes an acquisition and privacy experts voice concerns, the corresponding assurances offered should be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. Nevertheless, frustration poured out when Google reneged on its promise not to incorporate DeepMind Health into the wider Google organisation – reported here by Alex Hern in the Guardian.

DeepMind had previously pledged when it started working with the NHS that its “data will never be connected to Google accounts or services”. The promise of improved care offered by Streams, however, may be enough for people to swallow what privacy advocates are calling a betrayal of “patients’ trust”.

The communications strategy employed here is worth examining, with Google essentially falling back on the rationale that this is necessary for the successful global scale of the app. If we start to focus purely on the pragmatism of whether something is necessary to achieve a particular result rather than whether it is ethical, can we really say that anybody is paying attention to ethical AI?

The big question here is, does anybody care? If not, it sends a signal that the public is not going to police ethical AI, nor industry itself, and a sign to governments that perhaps they need to. All companies using AI need to think carefully about how they address and emphasise ethical concerns in their communications.

Property Industry Weighs Up AI Impacts

This week’s Estates Gazette included a write-up of EG’s Future of London event, with Emma Rosser focusing on a discussion of the property industry’s readiness for AI disruption. Most interestingly, John Williams, head of marketing at The Instant Group, suggested that it will be UK Government that will drive AI adoption in the sector via “automation, tech advances, data and benchmarks” in its role as a “contractor, partner or client”. Overall, the discussion seemed downbeat on progress and suggests much more needs to be done to generate the levels of data in the sector that will result in meaningful AI-led improvements.

News in Brief:

Around Whitehall:

Margot James was in attendance as Atos teamed up with Google to set up a new open AI lab in London. The consulting firm intends to combine private and public sector capabilities to collaborate and unlock cross-enterprise opportunities. Atos also plans to launch an additional lab in Paris.…

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