Fei-Fei Li, a former Google vice president and AI star, joined Twitter's board of directors on Monday as an independent director, the California-based company announced in a press release.
Chance or pure coincidence, this is information that was confirmed by both parties at the same time as the decision of Twitter to update its approach to misinformation on its website. Monday, Fei-Fei Li was thus appointed as an independent director and joined the board of directors of the Californian company. In addition to an exchange of tweets between the principal interested party and Jack Dorsey, the company's CEO, on the social network in question, Twitter make a fool of a press release to confirm the information.
"With unparalleled expertise in engineering, computer science and artificial intelligence (AI), Fei-Fei brings relevant perspectives to the board as Twitter continues to use technology to improve its service and achieve its long-term goals.", said Omid Kordestani, the executive chairman of Twitter, on this occasion. He added: "She shares Twitter's passion for using technology to promote positive change and her appointment aligns with our commitment to add a director who reflects the diversity of the Twitter service and also has deep expertise in technology and AI.".
Fei-Fei Li, ethics in the background
Woman of influence In the field of artificial intelligence, Fei-Fei Li had a flattering image in the field of research and artificial intelligence until September 2018 and her departure from Google. Scientific Director of Artificial Intelligence at Google Cloud, the Beijing native was caught in the eye of the hurricane in the "Maven" project after the New York Times had leaked compromising e-mails between Fei-Fei Li and other employees of the Mountain View firm. As a reminder, the objective of the "Maven" project was to develop a partnership between Google and the American Pentagon for the creation of a mass surveillance system with drones equipped with smart cameras. Previously known for her ethical vision of artificial intelligence, Fei-Fei Li was then put in a quandary by the disclosure of e-mails with embarrassing content. "Avoid at ALL costs any mention or involvement of AI"she wrote to her teams, for example. "AI weaponry is probably one of the most sensitive topics in AI - if not THE most sensitive. It's red meat to the media, who are trying to harm Google in any way they can.". This was a task for a woman who was always advocating an ethical and fair artificial intelligence ...
Almost two years later, she was appointed as an independent director at Twitter. Director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab, specializing in computer vision and cognitive neuroscience, Nevertheless, Fei-Fei Li remains a well-known figure in the field of artificial intelligence and one of the pioneers in this field.
Tracking down misinformation?
His appearance on Twitter's board of directors may come as a surprise and a few questions remain unanswered after his appointment. Will she replace someone later on when the board of directors already has ten members, or what will her prerogatives and scope of action be?
While waiting to find out more, Twitter has announced at the same time that it will update its strategy for approaching false information that are swarming across his network. In the midst of coronavirus crisis and before the presidential elections in the United States, the American firm wants to reassure its investors and readers by limiting as much as possible the dissemination of misinformation on its medium. The objective is obviously to track down this "fake news" and remove it before it spreads at high speed. Last April, an analysis carried out by researchers at Stanford University (the same university that employs Fei-Fei Li) showed that more than 50% of fake news remained on the platform without any mention that could alert users to their origins.
Last Monday, Twitter communicated on the subject, explaining, for example, about the coronavirus pandemic: "The coronavirus pandemic is a very serious problem.Similar labels will now appear on Tweets containing potentially dangerous and misleading information related to VIDOC-19. This will also apply to Tweets sent before today. These labels will include a link to a page created by Twitter or a trusted external source with additional information about the claims made in the Tweet." Whether or not this is related to the study conducted by the Stanford researchers, the fact remains that this change was necessary. What if Fei-Fei Li finally became a luxury mediator between the two parties? This would explain in part the marriage between an expert in artificial intelligence and a social network with 321 million active users per month!