Mozilla partners with Element AI to spearhead ethical artificial intelligence

The collaboration involves the development of tools to give us more control over our data.

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Mozilla has announced a partnership with Element AI in a bid to advocate for the use of ethical artificial intelligence (AI).

On Monday, the tech giant said the strategic partnership between Mozilla and Element AI is focused on addressing "how new AI technologies and tools present challenges and opportunities for today's digital frontiers."

In particular, the ethical case for AI and its applications is of concern. AI, despite its infancy, has already proven itself in use cases that benefit humanity such as its use in neuroscience to assist paralyzed patients to communicate, the diagnosis of medical conditions and for tracking in academic research projects.

However, for every worthwhile, ethical purpose, AI can also be used for applications that some may deem unethical, including the development of unmanned weapons and military vehicles, as well as for mass surveillance.  

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As the technology continues to develop and grow, it is important to create -- and hopefully stick to -- applications that maintain some level of ethics (although what level, in turn, is debatable). 

Element AI, an AI enterprise software provider that maintains existing partnerships with AWS, Microsoft, Nvidia, and Intel, will work with Mozilla to explore these aspects of ethical AI governance. 

The companies will also work on "data trusts," a new, proposed technological solution born from AI to measure and maintain data control, which may become key as AI works its way into data collection solutions. 

Data trusts are third-party stewardship models based on "common law trust." These tools, as documented in an Element AI whitepaper, are proposed as a way to give individuals more control over their personal information; to balance power and data rights between companies, governments, and individuals; to enhance privacy, and to give the public the opportunity to "share in the value of data and artificial intelligence."

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Mozilla and Element AI hope to create data trust tools able to replace the current "broken consent-based system of data collection." The partnership will also involve funding and the support of AI-based legal and policy research.

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"Artificial intelligence and machine learning (ML) algorithms show great promises for our day-to-day lives, from more efficient services to better health care," said  Marc-Etienne Ouimette, Head of Policy and Government Relations at Element AI. "Working in collaboration with the Mozilla will support our work to address the pressing needs to ensure that AI products and solutions are deployed responsibly, with the appropriate tools and guidance necessary to support companies, governments, and citizens."

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