Artificial intelligence presents itself in both grand and mundane ways. It accelerates the scientific process, leading most recently to the development of COVID-19 vaccines at record speed. It runs self-driving cars, allowing them to smoothly navigate downtown streets. And it manages our emails and online calendars, improving our productivity and well-being.

But A.I.’s potential for transforming human learning and experience also sparks unease and raises fundamental questions. Who should control the creation and use of these tools? Are we comfortable handing a small group of technologists the keys to our social and economic development engine? And what role should philanthropy play in protecting the most vulnerable and ensuring that A.I. benefits the greater good?

Controversies over facial recognition, automated decision making, and COVID-19 tracking have shown that realizing A.I.’s potential requires strong buy-in from citizens and governments, based on their trust that the technology is built and used ethically.
To explore these challenges, we recently brought together a group of 20 senior philanthropic leaders representing institutions including the Schmidt Family Foundation, the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, and the Berggruen Institute at a virtual convening of the World Economic Forum. Our conversation reflected philanthropists’ profound interest in both the positive potential for A.I. and the need to more deeply understand how to harness, steer, and govern these tools to prevent misuse and ensure they are deployed for social good.

Those conversations contributed to the launch of a new Global AI Action Alliance — a platform for philanthropic and technology leaders to engage in the development of ethical A.I. practices and tools. They also led to the creation of an action plan that can help pave the path forward for deeper philanthropic participation in the effective, safe, and equitable use of A.I. to address societal need. The plan encompasses four key areas:

  1. A commitment to learning. 
  2. Integration of A.I. into key grant-making areas.
  3. Investment in safe data sharing. 
  4. Diversification of voices. 

Read the full article about philanthropy plan for AI by Vilas Dhar at World Economic Forum.