Mozilla Technology Fund will provide $300,000 to people and projects making AI more trustworthy
(Thursday, October 7, 2021 | San Francisco, CA) -- Today, Mozilla is launching a new awards program to support technologists who are making artificial intelligence (AI) systems less biased and more transparent.
The program, titled the Mozilla Technology Fund (MTF), will provide awards up to $50,000 each, for a total of $300,000. The first batch of awards will focus on bias and transparency in AI. Specifically, the program seeks open-source projects that empower watchdogs to better scrutinize influential AI systems and the companies that design them. Winning projects could be a tool that illuminates how a consumer AI system makes decisions; a program that identifies bias in publicly-available datasets; or something else entirely.
Says Mehan Jayasuriya, Senior Program Officer at Mozilla: “For years, bias has been shown to be one of the major risks of operating AI systems at scale. It results in real-world harms for people whose access to economic opportunity, social interaction, education and banking is increasingly mediated by these systems. To create more transparent artificial intelligence systems, AI transparency and documentation best practices need to be developed as a means to help unlock accountability, agency, and fairness.”
Mehan Jayasuriya, Senior Program Officer at Mozilla
Awardees will work together as a cohort over 12 months to complete their projects, and will have access to Mozilla fellows and staff who are working on these same issues.
Mozilla Technology Fund draws on the strength and learnings of other Mozilla Awards programs like MOSS, the Mozilla Open Source Support Awards. It is also informed by Mozilla’s recent, thorough evaluation of its Fellowships and Awards program, and is tailored to have a maximum impact.
Mozilla Technology Fund complements Mozilla’s ongoing work to mitigate bias, increase transparency, and generally make AI systems more trustworthy. Recent work on this front includes research by Mozilla Fellow Deb Raji and Mozilla’s RegretsReporter browser extension.
These awards are open to all applicants regardless of geographic location or institutional affiliation.