The Mozilla Foundation is on a mission to ensure that the Internet is a global public resource that is open and accessible to everyone. In 2017, she launched an open source initiative: “The Internet Health Report”, aiming to document and analyze the state of health of the Internet based on different studies from multiple sources. This year, the report focuses on a single critical topic for the internet and humanity: artificial intelligence.
AI is part of our daily life but, as has happened for the internet, the GAFAMs as well as some rich and powerful people are tightening their grip on AI to increase their profits.
The foundation recalls the dangers of discrimination and surveillance that automation brings and an overreliance on it for decisions with huge consequences, but also the fact that champions are asserting that there is a better way to build, deploy and understand the potential of AI.
“Who has power over AI? », « Who transfers this power? are the central questions of this report to which more than 150 people contributed over several months. They drew on extensive work by Mozilla Foundation staff, fellows, and grantees to seek more trusted AI in products, policies, and coding.
Alongside the 2022 report, Mozilla explores a wide range of topics including surveillance, labor, healthcare, geospatial data or social media misinformation in five bi-weekly podcasts, 19 people from a dozen countries different will intervene.
Who has power over AI?
Across industries, businesses are turning to AI to collect and analyze data to tailor their offerings. Those with enough resources to invest in AI have a competitive advantage. Countries with access to large amounts of data and high computing power, meanwhile, are consolidating their software and hardware dominance, impacting how AI is deployed around the world.
In terms of private investment in AI, the United States predominates. Next come China, the United Kingdom, Israel, Germany, Canada, France and then India.
Use different datasets
The cost of training machine learning systems has decreased and data availability is greater. However, the report authors could see that it is the same datasets from just a few countries that are most often used to assess the performance of machine learning models all over the world.
Thus, more than half of the datasets used for benchmarking AI performance in more than 26,000 research papers came from just 12 recognized institutions and technology companies in the United States, Germany and Hong Kong. (China).
The report points out that a large, frequently reused data set does not guarantee better machine learning than a smaller, purpose-built set. Quite the contrary, it often reflects the racist, sexist stereotypes of the internet content with which it has been trained.
The companies with the most to gain from AI are arguably the biggest tech companies in the world. Their revenues have skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those of Microsoft in 2021, and several of them are now among the richest companies in the world.
They influence Internet users by recommending publications, the purchase of products, etc.
According to Ranking Digital Rights, “ there is little or no transparency about how companies test and deploy algorithmic systems and use our personal data, including with respect to curation, recommendation and ranking”.
Recommender systems determine which social media feeds people will access and what content will be rewarded with ad revenue. In a crowdsourced YouTube study by Mozilla, 71% of the videos people said they “regretted” watching were algorithm-recommended to them.
Advertisements and social media networks can be used to spread propaganda and misinformation. In the absence of transparency and collaboration with researchers, a global industry of companies and organizations engaged in secret messaging is thriving.
How to establish trust?
New methods and techniques for preserving privacy, recording the origin of data, ensuring AI ethics, auditing algorithms and empowering users, are among the many pitfalls being considered.
To achieve this, cooperation is necessary. With this report, and the accompanying podcasts and stories, Mozilla is calling on technology builders and policy makers to start the conversation and take action.
Sources of the article:
The Internet Health Report 2022.
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Mozilla Foundation’s 2022 “The Internet Health Report” dedicated to artificial intelligence
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