Google's AI-research arm DeepMind has announced the creation of DeepMind Ethics & Society (DMES), a new unit dedicated to exploring the impact and morality of the way AI shapes the world around us. Along with external advisors from academia and the charitable sector, the team aims to "help technologists put ethics into practice, and to help society anticipate and direct the impact of AI so that it works for the benefit of all".
The unit has been in the works for the last 18 months with eight staff members and six external fellows, and is expected to grow to around 25 people over the coming year. The team will focus on six areas: privacy, transparency and fairness; economic impacts; governance and accountability; managing AI risk; AI morality and values; and the way AI can address global challenges.
This is not the first ethics-orientated unit Google has put together within the AI sphere. There's also the highly secretive AI Ethics Board, DeepMind Health's Independent Review Panel, and the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society. But the creation of DMES shows that AI is obviously a major focus for Google right now, and it seems it's committed to getting what can be a contentious issue right.