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Home / World / Oxford University accepts £ 150m from the US private equity chief

Oxford University accepts £ 150m from the US private equity chief



  Stephen Blackman of Blackstone is a close confidant of President Trump.

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The multi-billionaire Stephen Schwarzman is a confidant of President Trump

The largest single donation to a British university went to Oxford for a new institute dealing with the ethics of artificial intelligence.

Stephen Schwarzman, a US private-equity billionaire who advised Republican presidents such as Donald Trump, has given the university 1

50 million pounds.

A new building for the study of humanities will host the institute.

The British government said it was a "globally significant" UK investment.

Governments "completely unprepared"

At a time when universities are facing uncertainty over research funding due to Brexit, this is a major financial coup for the University of Oxford.

Mr. Schwarzman, managing director of private equity firm Blackstone, is one of America's best-known billionaires.

In the past, his lavish lifestyle was criticized as a Wall Street financier, but more recently as an important donor of education.

Mr. Schwarzman told the BBC that he was giving the money to Oxford because artificial intelligence is the main problem of our time.

"At the moment, most governments are completely unprepared to deal with it, and why should they do that, it's a different kind of technology," he said.

"You will have to rely on great universities like Oxford and others around the world who have specialized in helping them to rethink this."

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Stephen Schwarzman with the Vice Chancellor of Oxford University, Prof. Louise Richardson

Schwarzman said universities should help to create an ethical framework for change that is happening quickly.

Some economists warned that the expansion of artificial intelligence could have a significant impact on society – including the loss of jobs due to automation. in what is sometimes referred to as the "fourth industrial revolution".

Scientists also expressed concerns about the potential for malicious use in cyber warfare and the undermining of democracy.

Mr. Schwarzman's donation to Oxford goes back to a gift of $ 350 million (£ 279 million) donated to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for a Computer and Artificial Computer Center To build intelligence.

The study of the ethics of the KI in Oxford will take place in a new humanities center, bringing together subjects from languages ​​to philosophy.

Mr. Schwarzman said it was "important for people to remember what is human."

"Why are we here, what are your values, how does the technology handle it, and how does it interact with it?

" We should want it to be positive and productive for society, and technology should not just do it all Do it because it can. "

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Oxford University has long been a theme of the patronage of the rich and powerful

The acceptance of large donations is not without its dangers to institutions if controversy arises later.

Prof. Louise Richardson, Oxford University Vice Chancellor, said that all philanthropic gifts were checked to make sure they were in line with their values.

"The scope for excellence requires more than we can expect from public funding, so philanthropy is becoming more and more important for Oxford and other universities," she said.

The new building will also create a concert hall and other facilities public space.


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