AI Initiative
The Ethics + Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative

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AI Initiative Incubates The Markup, a New Investigative Journalism Venture Focused on Revealing the Societal Impact of Technology

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Today, The Markup, a new journalism venture founded by Sue Gardner, former head of the Wikimedia Foundation, and Julia Angwin and Jeff Larson, investigative journalists formerly at ProPublica, officially launches.

The Markup will focus on investigative journalism that seeks to uncover how powerful institutions are using and abusing technology in ways that harm real people and damage society.

The influence of machine learning systems can be challenging to identify without careful investigative work. Ensuring that the public interest is represented in the design of these technologies requires that the public have effective ways of recognizing where harm is occurring and when threats are emerging. We believe that project like The Markup play a major role in ensure that light can be shed on these problems so that society can take action.

The Markup is being supported through a $20 million donation from Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist and Craig Newmark Philanthropies, $2 million from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and additional support from the Ford Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The Ethics and Governance of AI Initiative is proud to have been the first funder of The Markup, providing an initial seed grant of $750,000 that supported the founding team as they developed the project over this year. We’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to play this early role: one of the missions of the AI Initiative is to be a source of lightweight, nimble funding that can help incubate emerging, impactful projects and enable them to ramp up to scale.

The Markup is poised to play a major role in help to improve public transparency around artificial intelligence, and we’re excited to see how the project unfolds. You can read more about the project, as well as job opportunities with The Markup here.

About the AI Initiative:

The Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative is a hybrid research effort and philanthropic fund that seeks to ensure that technologies of automation and machine learning are researched, developed, and deployed in a way which vindicate social values of fairness, human autonomy, and justice. It is a joint project of the Harvard Berkman-Klein Center and the MIT Media Lab, and is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Omidyar Network, the Hewlett Foundation, and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. If you're curious you can read more about it at: https://aiethicsinitiative.org/.

Tim Hwang