Foundation/AI

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In 2019, Mozilla Foundation decided that a significant portion of its internet health programs would focus on AI topics. This wiki provides an overview of the issue as we see it, our theory of change and Mozilla's programmatic pursuits for 2020. Above all, it opens the door to collaboration from others.

Mozilla's most recent work on this topic is a trustworthy AI white paper released in May, 2020. Accompanying the paper is a request for comments that is open to the public. You can also watch our January, 2020 All Hands Plenary for additional background on this work.


Background: Mozilla and Trustworthy AI

In 2019, Mozilla Foundation decided that a significant portion of its internet health programs would focus on AI topics. We launched that work a little over a year ago, with a post arguing that: if we want a healthy internet -- and a healthy digital society -- we need to make sure AI is trustworthy. AI, and the large pools of data that fuel it, are central to how computing works today. If we want apps, social networks, online stores and digital government to serve us as people -- and as citizens -- we need to make sure the way we build with AI has things like privacy and fairness built in from the get go.

Since writing that post, a number of us at Mozilla -- along with literally hundreds of partners and collaborators -- have been exploring the questions: What do we really mean by ‘trustworthy AI’? And, what do we want to do about it?


How do we collaboratively make trustworthy AI a reality?

We think part of the answer lies in collaborating and gathering input. In May 2020, we launched a request for comment on v0.9 of Mozilla’s Trustworthy AI Whitepaper -- and on the accompanying theory of change (see below) that outlines the things we think need to happen.


What is trustworthy AI and why?

We have chosen to use the term AI because it is a term that resonates with a broad audience, is used extensively by industry and policymakers, and is currently at the center of critical debate about the future of technology. However, we acknowledge that the term has come to represent a broad range of fuzzy, abstract ideas. Mozilla’s definition of AI includes everything from algorithms and automation to complex, responsive machine learning systems and the social actors involved in maintaining those systems.


Mozilla is working towards what we call trustworthy AI, a term used by the European High Level Expert Group on AI. Mozilla defines trustworthy AI as AI that is demonstrably worthy of trust. Privacy, transparency, and human well-being are key considerations and there is accountability for harms.


Mozilla’s theory of change (below) is a detailed map for arriving at more trustworthy AI. It focuses on AI in consumer technology: general purpose internet products and services aimed at a wide audience. This includes products and services from social platforms, apps, and search engines, to e-commerce and ride sharing technologies, to smart home devices, voice assistants, and wearables.


About Mozilla

The ‘trustworthy AI’ activities outlined in the white paper are primarily a part of the movement activities housed at the Mozilla Foundation — efforts to work with allies around the world to build momentum for a healthier digital world. These include: thought leadership efforts like the Internet Health Report and the annual Mozilla Festival, fellowships and awards for technologists, policymakers, researchers and artists, and advocacy to mobilize public awareness and demand for more responsible tech products. Mozilla’s roots are as a collaborative, community driven organization.


Mozilla’s roots are as a collaborative, community driven organization. We are constantly looking for allies and collaborators to work with on our trustworthy AI efforts.


For more on Mozilla’s values, see: [1]. Our Trustworthy AI goals framework builds on key manifesto principles including agency (principle 5), transparency (principle 8) and building an internet that enriches the lives of individual human beings (principles 3).


For more on Trustworthy AI programs, see https://wiki.mozilla.org/Foundation/AI

Theory of Change

The Theory of Change update will enable Mozilla & our allies to take both coordinated and decentralized action in a shared direction, towards collective impact on trustworthy AI.

It seeks to define:

  • Tangible changes in the world we and others will pursue (aka long term outcomes)
  • Strategies that we and others might use to pursue these outcomes
  • Results we will hold ourselves accountable to

Many people have tried to come up with the right word to describe what 'good AI' looks like -- ethical, responsible, healthy.

The term we find most useful is 'trustworthy AI', as used by the European High Level Expert Group on AI. Mozilla's simple definition is:

"AI that is demonstrably worthy of trust. Privacy, transparency and human well being are key design considerations - and there is accountability for any harms that may be caused. This applies not just to AI systems themselves, but also the deployment and results of such systems."

We plan to use this term extensively, including in our theory of change and strategy work.

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2020 OKRs

MoFo 2020 OKRs [draft - March 27, 2020]

The following outlines the organization wide objectives and key results (OKRs) for Mozilla Foundation for 2020.

Theory of change

These objectives have been developed as a part of a year long strategy process that included the creation of a multi-year theory of change for Mozilla’s trustworthy AI work. The majority of objectives are tied directly to one or more short term (1 - 3 year) outcomes in the theory of change.

Partnerships

Mozilla Foundation’s overall focus is on growing the movement of organizations around the world committed to building a healthier internet. A key assumption behind this work is that Mozilla maintains a small staff that is skilled at partnering, with most of its resources going into networking and supporting individuals and organizations within the movement. The 2020 OKRs include a strong focus on deepening our partnership practice.

Below is a bulleted list of our OKRs. You can read more about them here.

1. Thought Leadership
Short Term Outcome: Clear "Trustworthy AI" guidelines emerge, leading to new and widely accepted industry norms.
2020 Objective: Test out our theory of change in ways that both give momentum to other orgs taking concrete action on trustworthy AI and establish Mozilla as a credible thought leader.
Key Results:

  • Publish a whitepaper theory of change
  • 250 people and organizations participate in mapping to show who is working on key elements of trustworthy AI and offer feedback on the whitepaper
  • 25 collaborations with partners working on concrete projects that align with short term outcomes in the theory of change

2. Data Stewardship
Short Term Outcome: More foundational trustworthy AI technologies emerge as building blocks for developers (e.g. data trusts, edge data, data commons).
2020 Objective: Increase the number of data stewardship innovations that can accelerate the growth of trustworthy AI.
Key Results:

  • $3 million raised to support bold, multi-year, cross movement initiatives on data stewardship as an indicator of growing philanthropic support in this area.
  • 10 awards or fellowships for prototypes or other concrete exploration re: data stewardship.
  • 4 concentric “networks of practice” engaging with Data Futures Lab

3. Consumer Power
Short Term Outcome: Citizens are increasingly willing and able to pressure and hold companies accountable for the trustworthiness of their AI.
2020 Objective: Mobilize an influential consumer audience using pivotal moments to pressure companies to make ‘consumer AI’ more trustworthy.
Key Results:

  • 3m page views to content on Mozilla channels, a majority of which focuses on trustworthy AI.
  • 75k new subscribers drawn from sources (partnerships, contextual advertising, etc.) oriented towards people ages 18-35.
  • 25k people share information with us (stories, browsing data, etc.) in order to gather evidence about how AI currently works and what changes are needed.

4. Movement Building
Short Term Outcome: A growing number of civil society actors are promoting trustworthy AI as a key part of their work.
2020 Objective: Partner with diverse movements to deepen intersections between their primary issues and internet health, including trustworthy AI, so that we increase shared purpose.
Key Results:

  • 30% increase in partners with whom we (have both) published, launched, or hosted something that includes shared approaches to their issues and internet health (e.g. shared language, methodologies, resources or events).
  • 75% of partners from these diverse movements report deepening intersection between their issues and internet health/AI.
  • 4 new partnerships in the Global South report deepened intersection between their work and ours.

Timeline

Trustworthy AI fits within the internet health movement building strategy Mozilla launched in 2016. Over the last 18 months we've been working to figure out how trustworthy AI can be a central focus in driving this movement forward.

Below is a timeline of key steps and documents from this process. They collectively tell the story of how Mozilla got to this goal and why.

January 2016 - Movement Building Strategy Launch

  • In January, 2016 Mozilla launched a movement building strategy. The goal was to combine our programmatic to catalyze a movement for a healthier internet.

January 2018 - Mozilla Strategy Brief & Theory of Change

  • After two years of implementing the internet health movement building strategy, Mozilla releases update language and proposes a rough theory of change.

September 2018 - Mozilla 2016-2018 Program Evaluation

  • The detailed strategy review resulted in many key learnings regarding what was working and what was not. Chief among them was that the movement building theory of change was too broad and that specific, measurable direction underneath this umbrella strategy was necessary. The takeaway was that Mozilla would choose an impact goal to drive this work forward.

November 2018 - Short Listed Impact Goals

  • Summarizes our recommendation to Mozilla's Board of Directors on why the impact goal focus should be 'better machine decision making' (now, trustworthy AI).
  • Based on the strategy evaluation and a program review, Mozilla looked at a number of options for impact goals. We narrowed the short list to four goals outlined in this document, one of which was "better machine decision making" (which grew into trustworthy AI).

November 2018 - Better machine decision making issue brief

  • This document is the issue brief we wrote to describe what we meant by better machine decision making at the time and used this to start consulting with our allies and partners. It describes both the issue and the beginning of a roadmap on areas for improvement to get us to 'better'.

November 2018 - Slowing Down, Asking Questions, Looking Ahead

  • In November we announced 'better machine decision making' as our goal. This kicked off a period of engagement and consultation.

March 2019 - Mozilla, AI and internet health: an update

  • By March, we'd adapted the language of our impact goal from better machine decision making to trustworthy AI. This blog post draws direct connections between our movement building theory of change and how trustworthy AI fits into that. It answers the question: how will we shape the agenda, rally citizens and connect leaders around trustworthy AI?

April 2019 - Why AI + consumer tech?

  • In April, 2019 we narrowed in on consumer technology as the key area where Mozilla can have the biggest impact in the AI field.

May 2019 - Consider this: AI and Internet Health

  • Though the focus had been narrowed to consumer technology, we wanted to get even more specific about the impact we wanted to make. This blog explores which aspects of consumer technology that Mozilla considered focusing on. The list included: accountability; agency; rights; and open source.

August 2019 - Update: Digging Deeper on ‘Trustworthy AI’

  • By August, 2019 we share our long term outcomes and long term trustworthy AI goal. We had landed on agency and accountability as our outcomes and "in a world of AI, consumer technology enriches the lives of human beings" as our goal.

January 2020 - All Hands Plenary

  • By January 2020 we were starting to see this work show up in our programs. Here, Mozilla staff and fellows talk about how their work is helping us towards our trustworthy AI goal.

March 2020 - Privacy, Pandemics and the AI Era

  • This blog explores the connection between the COVID-19 pandemic, and the technological solutions being proposed. These issues are central to the long term impact of AI.

April 2020 - Privacy Norms and the Pandemic

  • Similar to the post above, here we explore the long term data governance implications of technology deployment during the pandemic.

May 2020 - Mozilla v0.9 White Paper on Trustworthy AI

  • In May of 2020 Mozilla released a white paper on our approach to trustworthy AI. The paper talks about how industry, regulators and citizens of the internet can work together to build more agency and accountability into our digital world. It also talks briefly about some of the areas where Mozilla will focus, knowing that Mozilla is only one small actor in the bigger picture of shifting the AI tide.

May 2020 - Request for comment: how to collaboratively make trustworthy AI a reality

  • Following the white paper launch, we opened a request for comments inviting our allies and community to feedback on this thinking. We welcome you as a part of that process. You can add your voice by writing a response to what you read, reaching out to us or filling out this form.


You can read more about the background for this project here.