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Why AI Needs Diversity

Friday, 19 Aug 2016


Google researchers highlight concerns.

Google Brain researchers believe the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning generally would benefit from greater diversity among contributors to initiatives.

Project lead Jeffrey Dean said in a Reddit AMA that while he wasn’t worried about a future “AI apocalypse”, he harboured concerns about “AI safety and policy” as well as “about the lack of diversity in the AI research community and in computer science more generally.”

He believed that achieving the Brain team’s mission to ‘make machines intelligent and improve people’s lives’ would require a more diverse set of contributors to ensure machines could think in a humanistic fashion and contribute positively to the world.

“One of the things I really like about our Brain Residency program is that the residents bring a wide range of backgrounds, areas of expertise (e.g. we have physicists, mathematicians, biologists, neuroscientists, electrical engineers, as well as computer scientists), and other kinds of diversity to our research efforts,” Dean said.

“In my experience, whenever you bring people together with different kinds of expertise, different perspectives, etc., you end up achieving things that none of you could do individually, because no one person has the entire skills and perspective necessary.”

As well as diversity of inputs, the Google researchers saw opportunities to improve the amount of training required to get an algorithm up to speed.

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