For years, scientists have raised concerns about the ethical implications of artificial intelligence. Facebook said it chose Germany because of its position "at the forefront of the conversation."
Facebook announced on Sunday that it will help create an independent ethics research center for artificial intelligence (AI) with the Technical University of Munich (TUM). The technology giant said it will provide $7.5 million (€6.6 million) over five years as "an initial funding grant."
With the AI industry growing at unprecedented levels, the use and impact of the technology have come under increased scrutiny, with some experts warning of the potential for unexpected consequences from its application.
What Facebook said:
'Develop ethical guidelines'
German philosopher Christoph Lütge, who has worked extensively on the ethics of digital technologies at TUM, said:
Read more: A new year for artificial human intelligence
Technology companies, including Facebook and Google, have come under significant pressure from governments and research institutes to do more to protect people affected by AI applications.
"From Facebook potentially inciting ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, to Cambridge Analytica seeking to manipulate elections, to Google building a secret censored search engine for the Chinese, to anger over Microsoft contracts with (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to multiple worker uprisings over conditions in Amazon's algorithmically managed warehouses — the headlines haven't stopped," said New York-based research institute AI Now last month.
AI Now has recommended several ways to move forward, including "stringent" regulation, worker protections and accountability and transparency.
"The AI accountability gap is growing: The technology scandals of 2018 have shown that the gap between those who develop and profit from AI — and those most likely to suffer the consequences of its negative effects — is growing larger, not smaller."
Read more: Women talk AI and gender equality in Iceland