Ahead of an AI-focused private Congressional meeting, Google has unveiled its latest endeavor: the Digital Futures Project. The new initiative is designed to support research and public policy solutions surrounding artificial intelligence (AI). Central to this project is a $20 million fund established by Google.org, Google's philanthropic arm, which will be allocated as grants to think tanks and academic institutions globally.
Support for Responsible AI Development
Brigitte Hoyer, the director of Google.org, emphasized the transformative potential of AI. She stated, “AI has the potential to make our lives easier and address some of society's most complex challenges — like preventing disease, making cities work better, and predicting natural disasters.”
However, she also acknowledged the challenges AI presents, including concerns about fairness, bias, misinformation, and security. The Digital Futures Project aims to address these challenges by funding independent researchers and fostering discussions on topics such as AI's impact on global security, labor, economic growth, and the best governance structures to promote responsible AI innovation.
Inaugural Grantees and Global Reach
The initial beneficiaries of the Digital Futures Fund include renowned institutions like the Aspen Institute, Brookings Institution, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and MIT Work of the Future, among others. While the fund will initially support organizations in the U.S., Google has plans to expand its reach globally. The tech giant's commitment to responsible AI is not new. In 2018, Google released its own set of AI principles and has since been actively involved in AI research, emphasizing the importance of collaboration in ensuring AI benefits everyone.