Mozilla Puts Up £168,000 to Explore How AI Threatens a ‘Healthy Internet’

By Sidney Fussell on at

Mozilla announced today that it’s offering five-figure grants to researchers and creatives studying the impact of artificial intelligence on society. This latest round of the annual Mozilla awards will net lucky winners up to $50,000 (£37,000) for producing AI-awareness content: videos, browser extensions, or interactive data visualisations.

The problems of AI are legion: YouTube’s algorithms have been criticised for harming children by introducing them to hugely inappropriate content, Facebook’s content-moderating AI exacerbates fake news, while Google employees staged a series of public protests after a Gizmodo report uncovered its AI was being used by the US military. Complex societal issues, racism, misogyny, militarism, etc. are being re-created in the tools we build.

To bring awareness to the ways AI and machine learning may threaten “a healthy internet,” Mozilla wants to reward creative artists and researchers for digging into the topic, offering a total of $225,000 (£168,000) to seven lucky applicants. People can apply as individuals or as groups. The individual awards may change, but Mozilla’s site lists the packages as follows:

  • Two $50,000 (£37,000) total prize packages ($47,500 [£35,450] award + $2,500 [£1,865] MozFest travel stipend)
  • Five $25,000 (£18,500) total prize packages ($22,500 award [£16,800] + $2,500 [£1,865] MozFest travel stipend)

Applicants will be judged by a committee of Mozilla staff and former fellows, and they’ll be accepted through 1 August 2018. Winners will be announced during MozFest, held 26-28 October 2018.

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