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Google Brain notes that AI ‘humanist thinking’ can’t be achieved without diversity

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A lack of diversity in artificial intelligence (AI) and computer science research is limiting the breadth of experience needed to devise ‘humanistic thinking’, according to the Head of Google Brain.

Google Brain is a group at Google that focuses on ‘deep learning’, which involves a deep neutral network to leverage massive amounts of data to solve task. These tasks were previously beyond the reach of machine learning.

Jeff Dean, Head of Google Brain, fears that because computer labs only staff computer scientists, that a single world view could take shape from this bias. He believes that this could impede the development of news ways of thinking.

Writing on Reddit AMA last week Dean said: “I am personally not worried about an AI apocalypse, as I consider that a completely made-up fear. I am concerned about the lack of diversity in the AI research community and in computer science more generally.”

In a bid to tackle this problem Dean has created a Brain Residency programme with the aim of bringing together experts from other disciplines such as physicists, mathematicians, biologists, neuroscientists and electrical engineers.

Dean hopes to achieve new results that previously could not have been achieved.

According to Dean, Google Brain aims to improve lives. He said: “One of the things I really like about our Brain Residency programme is that the residents bring a wide range of backgrounds, areas of expertise (e.g. we have physicists, mathematicians, biologists, neuroscientists, electrical engineers, as well as computer scientists), and other kinds of diversity to our research efforts.

“In my experience, whenever you bring people together with different kinds of expertise, different perspectives, etc., you end up achieving things that none of you could do individually, because no one person has the entire skills and perspective necessary.”

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