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Brand Updates & Reviews

Google won’t be selling facial recognition technology due to abuse concerns

Tech Crunch spotted the affirmation hidden toward the end of a blog post about using artificial intelligence to benefit health clinics in Asia by Google SVP Kent Walker. The executive cited concerns over how the technology could be abused.

“[F]acial recognition technology has benefits in areas like new assistive technologies and tools to help find missing persons, with more promising applications on the horizon,” he wrote. “However, like many technologies with multiple uses, facial recognition merits careful consideration to ensure its use is aligned with our principles and values, and avoids abuse and harmful outcomes. We continue to work with many organizations to identify and address these challenges, and unlike some other companies, Google Cloud has chosen not to offer general-purpose facial recognition APIs before working through important technology and policy questions.”

In an interview this week, Google CEO Sundar Pichai addressed similar growing concerns around AI ethics. “I think tech has to realize it just can’t build it and then fix it,” he said. “I think that doesn’t work,” he said, adding that artificial intelligence could ultimately prove “far more dangerous than nukes.”

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