A P45 from C-3PO? Amazon’s AI Firing Program Stirs Controversy (The Week in AI)

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Amidst all the talk of the UK about the AI developing as a beacon of ethical AI deployment, there’s always the underlying suspicion that big U.S. tech firms and the Chinese Government are going to do as they please while we sit around drinking tea and equivocating over tricky things like ethics.

However, people get understandably anxious to read that Amazon has introduced an AI system that both issues warnings and draws up termination paperwork – courtesy here of Mark Bridge in The Times, and originally reported by The Verge’s Colin Lecher, here.

Some will argue that machines are likely to apply a fairer system to terminations, removing personal vendetta and implicit bias. However, we have seen in the past how this argument can be problematic with Amazon itself! Others will worry about such a clear example of where machines are fundamentally deciding people’s future by removing their livelihood.

From a comms perspective, Amazon’s response played up the fact that terminations were falling over the last couple of years. That in no way addresses the rights and wrongs in using AI programmes to make termination decisions. Perhaps this is a conscious effort not to get sucked into a thorny debate, but it could also come across as a somewhat high-handed assumption that there are no ethical questions at play here with the use of AI. It is time big tech addressed AI ethics more proactively in their comms.

News in Brief:

Around Whitehall:

Government Invests in Peaky Blinders AI Game

The Government is backing new projects by Oscar and BAFTA winning companies to create new VR and AR experiences.

On-demand AI pharma platform gets Innovate UK funding

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