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Craigslist Founder Invests Millions in Tackling the Dark Side of AI

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Craig Newmark's Philanthropy Targets the Dark Side of AI

Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, has shifted his focus from his outdated internet company to addressing the potential dangers of artificial intelligence (AI). Through his philanthropic organization, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, he has donated millions of dollars to combat the negative impacts of AI. One of the recent contributions was a $3 million funding for an AI and education initiative by Common Sense Media. Newmark expressed surprise at the rapid development of generative AI and intelligent chatbots, highlighting the need to address ethical concerns and disinformation amplified by technology.

Concerns about Disinformation and Ethical Issues

Newmark is particularly worried about the misuse of generative AI to spread disinformation and the lack of effort by tech companies, especially in social media, to combat dishonest content. He believes that unreliable sources and intentional lying on search engines and news platforms pose significant ethical problems. The downsizing of trust-and-safety workers in major tech companies has raised concerns about the safety of online platforms.

Expertise from Craigslist Disruption

Newmark draws from his experience with Craigslist, which disrupted the newspaper industry but also attracted criminals and scammers. He recognizes the internet's potential as an amplifier of misinformation and the increased profitability of being a professional liar in the digital age. Newmark's interest in language-generating software dates back to the 1970s, and he acknowledges the rapid spread of this technology today.

Supporting AI Education and Awareness

Newmark's philanthropy aims to protect children from the potential risks of AI. Common Sense Media's AI project, funded by Newmark's organization, focuses on providing an AI ratings system for evaluating the safety of tools like OpenAI's ChatGPT for children. The nonprofit also offers online AI literacy courses to help parents and educators teach fundamental AI concepts to children.

Challenges and Brave Initiatives

Newmark acknowledges the challenges of addressing AI's dark side and the politicization of issues like misinformation and content moderation. He highlights the importance of organizations like the Knight Foundation and Ford Foundation, which are making brave efforts in these areas. Newmark's philanthropy extends beyond AI, supporting journalism, combating misinformation, cybersecurity, and assisting veterans and military families. In conclusion, Craig Newmark's philanthropic efforts reflect his concerns about the potential hazards of AI and the need to address ethical issues and disinformation. By supporting initiatives in AI education and awareness, he aims to protect children and promote responsible AI use. Newmark's expertise from disrupting the newspaper industry with Craigslist informs his understanding of the internet's amplifying effect on misinformation. Through his philanthropy, he continues to make a significant impact in various areas, driven by a desire to give back and make a positive difference in society.

Conclusion: The Implications of AI's Dark Side for New Businesses

The philanthropic efforts of Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, highlight the potential perils of artificial intelligence (AI) and the urgent need for ethical considerations and disinformation combat strategies. This has significant implications for new businesses, particularly those operating in the tech industry.

Understanding the Risks and Responsibilities

New businesses venturing into AI must understand the risks associated with the misuse of this technology. The rapid development of generative AI and intelligent chatbots can amplify disinformation, posing significant ethical problems. As such, businesses must assume responsibility for combating dishonest content and ensuring the safety of their platforms.

Navigating the Ethical Landscape

The politicization of issues like misinformation and content moderation presents challenges for new businesses. However, it also offers opportunities for businesses to differentiate themselves by demonstrating a commitment to ethical practices and social responsibility.

Investing in AI Education and Awareness

Newmark's support for AI education and awareness initiatives underscores the importance of these areas. Businesses can benefit from investing in similar initiatives, not only to protect their users but also to promote responsible AI use. In conclusion, the dark side of AI presents both challenges and opportunities for new businesses. By understanding the risks, assuming responsibility, navigating the ethical landscape, and investing in education and awareness, businesses can turn these challenges into opportunities for growth and differentiation.
Story First Published at: https://www.cnbc.com/2023/09/14/craigslists-craig-newmark-funding-common-sense-media-ai-project.html
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