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Google wants to improve the relationship between humans and AI with new initiative

Tyrone Stewart

GoogleGoogle has launched an initiative aimed at changing the way that people interact with AI systems – focusing on the ‘human side’ of the technology.

The People + AI Research initiative (PAIR) will focus on the relationship between AI and its users, the applications it enables, and how to make the tech more inclusive. Researchers will publish research that looks at making AI easier to build and understand for engineers and fellow researchers, as well as looking into how AI can help various professionals in their work and how everyone can benefit from AI.

“We don't have all the answers—that's what makes this interesting research—but we have some ideas about where to look,” read a blog post announcing the initiative. “One key to the puzzle is design thinking. Instead of viewing AI purely as a technology, what if we imagine it as a material to design with?”

The initiative will also see Google open source tools for other researchers and experts to use. The first of these are two visualisation tools for AI engineers called Facets Overview and Facets Dive.

The tools concentrate on the beginning of the machine learning process, giving engineers a view of the data they should use to train AI systems.  

“We think this is important because training data is a key ingredient in modern AI systems, but it can often be a source of opacity and confusion,” said Google’s brain team. “Indeed, one of the ways that machine learning engineering seems different than traditional software engineering is a stronger need to debug not just code, but data too. With Facets, engineers can more easily debug and understand what they’re building.”