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Conscience and Conflict [of Interest] #5: Mark Zuckerberg, Sign the Asilomar Principles

Mark Zuckerberg’s reputation is a bit checkered. Let’s put that aside and give him the benefit of the doubt, even for all of the “broken” things in Facebook’s past that he promised to fix and somehow were not. Let’s focus on the Cambridge Analytica disaster of the recent past and Mr. Zuckerberg’s vow to fix it with AI. Of course, given the huge investment Facebook is making in AI, his vow begs the question why Facebook’s AI did not avert the disaster.

Mr. Zuckerberg is extremely optimistic about the future of AI and the benefits it will deliver to society, and as a result, he has had a long running dispute with Elon Musk for obvious reasons.  The Cambridge Analytica incident subverts whatever confidence Mr. Zuckerberg has deserved in this dispute.

Five Facebook employees, including its Director of AI Research, the highly regarded Yang LeChun, have signed the Asilomar Principles (names below).  It is time for Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg to sign the Asilomar Principles and establish a public code of accountability. It is the least they can do under the circumstances.

Yann LeCun Director of AI Research at Facebook, Professor at New York University; Gabriel Synnaeve, Facebook, Research Scientist; James Alexander Gill, Facebook, Data Scientist; Greg Perkins, Facebook, Software Engineer, Ads Delivery; Julien Rabinow, Facebook, Production Engineer; Pádraig Brady, Facebook, Software Engineer; Dorienne Rosenberg, Facebook, UX Researcher

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