Google and the University of Cambridge deal looks to pioneer responsible AI research

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Google and the University of Cambridge have signed a multi-year research deal on responsible AI aimed at exploring the potential societal benefits of the technology. 

Google to work with the university's Centre for Human-Inspired Artificial Intelligence (CHIA) as part of the deal, focusing specifically on foundational AI research projects in areas of shared interest, including climate and sustainability, and AI ethics and safety.

Matt Brittin, president of Google EMEA, said the collaboration will help shape the future of responsible AI development, and marks a significant commitment from the tech giant in driving the safe adoption of the technology.

"By collaborating with one of our world-leading British academic institutions, we can enable AI research that is bold, responsible and designed to meet the needs of people across the country,” he said.

"This partnership also reaffirms Google’s commitment to the UK as a global AI and technology leader."

Research projects will focus on responsible AI, human-centered robotics, human-machine interaction, healthcare, economic sustainability, and climate change, according to Google.

"The University of Cambridge can be an engine for AI innovation and a steward of advancements in this exciting field," said Jessica Montgomery, director of ai@cam, the University's mission on artificial intelligence. 

"Translating advances in AI to benefits for science, citizens, and society requires interdisciplinary research that is deeply connected to real-word needs."

"The research collaboration agreement announced today will support research activities across the university. We want to leverage the world-leading expertise found across the University to enable exciting new advances in responsible AI."

CHIA, headed by Professor Anna Korhonen, Professor Per Ola Kristensson, and Dr John Suckling, was created in July 2022, bringing together researchers from engineering and mathematics, philosophy and social sciences, as well as computer scientists and robotics experts.

Along with the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) and the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI), it forms part of the university's Institute for Technology and Humanity (ITH).

Google is the center’s first funding partner, and the agreement comes with an 'unrestricted' grant from Google, which will support research and fund students from under-represented groups to carry out PhDs to help broaden diversity in the AI research community.


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"As our first funding partner, Google has been with us from the start of our journey, helping enable the breakthrough interdisciplinary research that we do," Korhonen said.

"Partnerships like this – between academia and industry – will continue to be vital for the successful development of human-inspired AI."

Google Research and Google DeepMind have been working with the University of Cambridge for several years, funding academic research and collaboration between faculty and Google researchers, along with a PhD Fellowship Programme and the DeepMind Professor of Machine Learning.

Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance journalist writing for publications including the BBC, Private Eye, Forbes, Raconteur and specialist technology titles.