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US billionaire donates £150m to Oxford university

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Stephen A Schwarzman, the chief executive and co-founder of US investment and private equity firm Blackstone has given Oxford university £150m for a new institute that will explore ethics of artificial intelligence (AI).

The centre named after the philanthropist is expected to open in 2024, it will be home for humanities subjects and the universities new Institute for Ethics in AI.

Schwarzman told the BBC’s Today programme, “AI is going to be the fourth revolution, and it is going to impact jobs, excellence, efficiency and it is a force for amazing good and also a potential force for not good.

“And what is important about it isn’t just what it can do, but making sure it is introduced in a way unlike the internet.

“The internet was invented by a bunch of computer scientists and they threw it out there because they thought it was cool.

“And parts of it were cool, interconnectedness, globally the ability to communicate, it is pretty amazing.

“What they forgot were all the negatives, this inability to control cyber bullying, lack of freedom of speech all kinds of negative things.”

He said ethics and AI are “one of the major issues of our age” and added, “Because AI is going to come, it is really unstoppable, it is not just AI it is robotics and all kinds of other computer science innovations.”

Louise Richardson Oxford’s vice chancellor said of the donation to the university “marks a significant endorsement of the value of the humanities in the 21st century.”




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