Foundations seek to advance AI for good — and also protect the world from its threats
While technology experts sound the alarm on the pace of artificial intelligence development, philanthropists — including long-established foundations and tech billionaires — have been responding with an uptick in grants.
Foundations, new donors build $51M fund to support workers
A fund created by a group of social-justice-minded foundations including Ford and Rockefeller and donors like Jack Dorsey and MacKenzie Scott shortly after COVID hit has more than quadrupled in size to $51 million and is now pouring money into activities and advocacy to strengthen the social safety net and increase worker pay.
Former Google CEO gives $150M for research in biology, AI
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy, have given $150 million to a research institute to establish a “new era of biology” aimed at battling diseases with a mix of data and life science studies. “Until now, these fields have largely developed in parallel,” the Broad Institute said in a statement on Thursday. The institute said Thursday that it also received an additional $150 million contribution from the Broad Foundation, the charity founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe L. Broad. The couple helped create the institute in 2003, and their foundation has pledged more than $1 billion to the research facility. Schmidt served as Google’s CEO from 2001 to 2011, a time of rapid growth for the California-based technology company.
AI panel urges US to boost tech skills amid China's rise
“To win in AI we need more money, more talent, stronger leadership,” Schmidt said Monday. It also calls for “wise restraints” on the use of AI tools such as facial recognition that can be used for mass surveillance. It’s still awaiting confirmation of a new director for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which Biden has elevated to a Cabinet-level position. AdIt's been led by Schmidt, who was Google's CEO and later the executive chairman of its parent company Alphabet. AdThe commission asked Congress to make new laws requiring federal agencies to conduct human rights assessments of new AI systems used on Americans.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos may step down without stepping away
Amazon announced Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, that Jeff Bezos would step down as CEO later in the year, leaving a role he's had since founding the company nearly 30 years ago. Amazon says Bezos will be replaced in the summer by Jassy, who runs Amazon's cloud business. (Isaac Brekken/AP Images for NFL, File)Even after stepping aside as CEO, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will likely keep identifying new frontiers for the world's dominant e-commerce company. Tuesday's announcement that Bezos will hand off the CEO job this summer came as a surprise. “Being the CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility, and it’s consuming," Bezos wrote.
Google's antitrust case won't go to trial until Sept. 2023
FILE - This Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, file photo shows Google's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, set a tentative trial date of Sept. 12, 2023. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta on Friday set a tentative trial date of Sept. 12, 2023 for the landmark case that the Justice Department filed two months ago. He estimated that once the trial begins it will last about 5 1/2 weeks in his Washington, D.C., courtroom. Another antitrust case filed Thursday is seeking to preempt Google's dominance in other still-emerging fields of technology such as voice-activated devices in the home and internet-connected cars.
How Google evolved from 'cuddly' startup to antitrust target
That pledge is now a distant memory as Google confronts an existential threat similar to what Microsoft once faced. They focused on creating a database of everything on the internet through a search engine that almost instantaneously listed a pecking order of websites most likely to have what anyone wanted. Google's promotion of Chrome on its search engine helped the browser supplant Explorer as the market leader. Google began reining in its spending and even created a new holding company, Alphabet, to oversee some of its unprofitable projects, such as internet=beaming balloons and self-driving cars. —-Liedtke first interviewed Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 2000 when he began covering Google for the AP.
Bob Iger steps down from Apple's board as Disney becomes a competitor
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(CNN) - Disney CEO Bob Iger resigned from Apple's board of directors Friday, just as the two companies are becoming streaming media competitors. It will cost $4.99 a month, $2 less than Disney's soon-to-be-released Disney+ streaming product. Apple's board was previously eyed by the Federal Trade Commission for its ties to competitors. Iger had served on Apple's board since November 2011, a month after former Apple CEO Steve Jobs died. Iger was paid $125,000 in salary and $250,000 in stock to serve on Apple's board.