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Mozilla announces $225,000 for projects examining AI's effects on society

Mozilla has announced a $225,000 fund to help art and advocacy projects which are looking at the impacts of AI on society. While AI will no doubt have countless benefits for people, and already is beneficial in a lot of cases, Mozilla is more interested in investigating the dangers of the technology, so that its benefits continue to outweigh its disadvantages.

In a statement, Brett Gaylor from Mozilla said:

“Specifically, we’re seeking projects that explore artificial intelligence and machine learning. In a world where biased algorithms, skewed data sets, and broken recommendation engines can radicalize YouTube users, promote racism, and spread fake news, it’s more important than ever to support artwork and advocacy work that educates and engages internet users.”

In order to inspire creators, Mozilla gave some past examples of projects that it has funded. It listed the Data Selfie extension which simulates how Facebook interprets user data, and Paperstorm, a project which lets you send virtual fliers to various government institutions to protest various issues.

Individual awards from Mozilla will have a maximum cap of $50,000 and are made at the discretion of award reviewers and Mozilla staff. Currently it’s expected that there will be two $50,000 total prize packages ($47,500 award + $2,500 MozFest travel stipend), and five $25,000 total prize packages ($22,500 award + $2,500 MozFest travel stipend). Discussing the review process, Gaylor said:

“Awardees are selected based on quantitative scoring of their applications by a review committee and a qualitative discussion at a review committee meeting. Committee members include Mozilla staff, current and alumni Mozilla Fellows, and — as available — outside experts. Selection criteria are designed to evaluate the merits of the proposed approach. Diversity in applicant background, past work, and medium are also considered.”

Applications will be accepted until August 1, 2018 and winners will be notified on September 15, 2018. The winners will be publicly announced on or around MozFest which is held between October 26-28, 2018. Mozilla urges applicants to attend a webinar on Monday, June 18 (8PM UTC) but it’s not necessary. If you’re interested, you can grab the application guide here and sign up here.

Do you think projects such as these are important for societies as companies and governments start to build more comprehensive artificial intelligence systems?

Source: Mozilla

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