Why I joined AI Foundation’s Non-Profit as Director

Biz Stone
Biz Stone
May 23, 2019 · 3 min read
AI is here and increasingly being woven into the fabric of our lives.

Tools that can create media that looks and sounds just like us — that can mimic behavior, convey any kind of information, and resonate deeply with people on an emotional level, are both exciting and scary. With fake media and deepfakes already threatening objective reality toward manipulative ends, it’s imperative that there be ethical policies, guidelines, and safeguards around how beneficial AI is created, and dangerous AI is prevented.

There is no question that AI is here and increasingly being woven into the fabric of our lives. However, there is an urgent question. How do we prepare to co-exist with AI? A tool that will rapidly transform jobs, entertainment, communication, and more. The optimist in me believes the true promise of AI is to create a positive future for humanity. I am also well aware that any tool can be used for good or for ill. This is why we must be deliberate with our choices in order to create a world in which AI is a societal good.

The AI Foundation recognizes the duality of these powerful new tools and sees clearly how we must forge two paths ahead. We must work both proactively and defensively. Generating exciting personal AI products for human benefit comes with a serious responsibility to safeguard from the societal risks of AI. To this end, AI Foundation has formed two organizations. One is dedicated to building innovative products for the marketplace. The other is a non-profit committed to building tools, tech, policy, and guidelines for protecting against, and mitigating, risk.

AI Foundation has assembled an incredible group of scientists, academics, innovators, and investors to proactively build a positive future. What I have seen in development at AI Foundation (still unannounced) took my breath away—I didn’t realize we were this far along already. I’m convinced it will be a catalyst in radically changing the way people experience the potential and personal benefits of AI.

How invention like this will impact the world exactly can be hard to anticipate. But, when we know we are standing at the precipice of a major leap, we have an opportunity to be deeply thoughtful—to steer purposefully toward that positive future. I know this first-hand, having had a front-row view of a sea change that brought both revolutionary optimism with exciting emergent behavior and social outcomes, as well as a new paradigm freighted with unintended, and undesired consequences that require new and innovative methods of defense.

AI Foundation’s 503c non-profit is focused on the responsibility and safeguarding of AI as it enters our lives at an accelerated speed. As someone who has spent a career building large-scale platforms, I feel a strong pull to help guide and support Guardian AI efforts. Along with experts, I will be exploring how AI and human collaboration can prepare us for a better future. I am excited about what we can do as a non-profit and eager to share more about what I have seen, and where we are headed.

—Biz Stone

Disclosure: I invested in and advise AI Foundation. I don’t see this as a conflict because safeguarding these tools is, to my mind, is a competitive advantage.

Biz Stone

Written by

Biz Stone

Co-founder of Twitter, Medium, and Jelly. Dad, husband, author, and inventor.

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