Google Takes Bullets about Its Smart Software

June 23, 2022

Google continues it push to the top of the PR totem pole. “Google’s AI Isn’t Sentient, But It Is Biased and Terrible” is in some ways a quite surprising write up. The hostility seeps from the spaces between the words. Not since the Khashoggi diatribes have “real news” people been as focused on the shortcomings of the online ad giant.

The write up states:

But rather than focus on the various well-documented ways that algorithmic systems perpetuate bias and discrimination, the latest fixation for some in Silicon Valley has been the ominous and highly controversial idea that advanced language-based AI has achieved sentience.

I like the fact that the fixation is nested beneath the clumsy and embarrassing (and possibly actionable) termination of some of the smart software professionals.

The write up points out that the Google “distanced itself” from the assertion that Alphabet Google YouTube DeepMind’s (AGYT) is smart like a seven year old. (Aren’t crows supposed to be as smart as a seven year old?)

I noted this statement:

The ensuing debate on social media led several prominent AI researchers to criticize the ‘super intelligent AI’ discourse as intellectual hand-waving.

Yeah, but what does one expect from the outfit which wants to solve death? Quantum supremacy or “hand waving”?

The write up concludes:

Conversely, concerns over AI bias are very much grounded in real-world harms. Over the last few years, Google has fired multiple prominent AI ethics researchers after internal discord over the impacts of machine learning systems, including Gebru and Mitchell. So it makes sense that, to many AI experts, the discussion on spooky sentient chatbots feels masturbatory and overwrought—especially since it proves exactly what Gebru and her colleagues had tried to warn us about.

What do I make of this Google AI PR magnet?

Who said, “Any publicity is good publicity?” Was it Dr. Gebru? Dr. Jeff Dean? Dr. Ré?

Stephen E Arnold, June 23, 2022

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