Freedombone Blog

Freedom in the Cloud

Architects of AI

Martin Ford interviews Geoffrey Hinton about the wider problems of AI. It's all very well agreeing that the government should do something, maybe like Basic Income or more regulation, but since Hinton is a part time Googler what should Google do?

Well, it could:

Pay its taxes

Nobody likes paying taxes, and tax money is often squandered bunging backhanders to the rich, but it is one sort of redistribution.

Reverse the demonetization trend

Make sure that YouTubers with not many viewers could still make a sustainable living. This is not the ideal way that I'd prefer the internet goes (I have a generally low opinion of advertising, and block ads), but again it's another type of redistribution which doesn't depend on the government.

Change it's hiring policy

To 50% women or non-binary. Wouldn't solve all problems, but would be a start.

Those are things which the directors of Google/Alphabet could implement right now with a single meeting and a few keypresses, but of course they won't.

There's also a problem with the narrative about lack of talent.

"There’s an enormous talent shortage in AI and everyone’s hiring"

It's the old "unskilled workers" argument in disguise. There isn't really a talent problem, there's a gatekeeping problem. This includes things such as companies like Google only hiring men with computer science degrees from ivy league universities. It shouldn't be surprising that there are a small number of people in that category which really amounts to "guys with rich parents", but this is not the same as a talent shortage.

Not only is there a gatekeeping problem but there's also an ethics problem with a lot of contemporary AI being deployed by companies like Google. The now abandoned Maven project is an easy example, and so it's probable that part of the shortage is just about people with AI knowledge not wanting to get recruited into ethically dubious projects.

Tags: AI, Google