Corporate governance of artificial intelligence in the public interest

Abstract

Corporations play a major role in artificial intelligence (AI) research, development, and deployment, with profound consequences for society. This paper surveys opportunities to improve how corporations govern their AI activities so as to better advance the public interest. The paper focuses on the roles of and opportunities for a wide range of actors inside the corporation—managers, workers, and investors—and outside the corporation—corporate partners and competitors, industry consortia, nonprofit organizations, the public, the media, and governments. Whereas prior work on multistakeholder AI governance has proposed dedicated institutions to bring together diverse actors and stakeholders, this paper explores the opportunities they have even in the absence of dedicated multistakeholder institutions. The paper illustrates these opportunities with many cases, including the participation of Google in the U.S. Department of Defense Project Maven; the publication of potentially harmful AI research by OpenAI, with input from the Partnership on AI; and the sale of facial recognition technology to law enforcement by corporations including Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft. These and other cases demonstrate the wide range of mechanisms to advance AI corporate governance in the public interest, especially when diverse actors work together.