Google Quietly Disbanded Another AI Review Board Following Disagreements

LONDON—Google is disbanding a panel here to review its artificial-intelligence work in health care, people familiar with the matter say, as disagreements about its effectiveness dogged one of the tech industry’s highest-profile efforts to govern itself.

The Alphabet Inc. GOOGL +0.23% unit is struggling with how best to set guidelines for its sometimes-sensitive work in AI—the ability for computers to replicate tasks that only humans could do in the past. It also highlights the challenges Silicon Valley faces in setting up self-governance systems as governments around the world scrutinize issues ranging from privacy and consent to the growing influence of social media and screen addiction among children.

AI has recently become a target in that stepped-up push for oversight as some sensitive decision-making—including employee recruitment, health-care diagnoses and law-enforcement profiling—is increasingly being outsourced to algorithms. The European Commission is proposing a set of AI ethical guidelines and researchers have urged companies to adopt similar rules. But industry efforts to conduct such oversight in-house have been mixed.

But the move also came amid disagreements between panel members and DeepMind, Google’s U.K.-based AI research unit, according to people familiar with the matter. Those differences centered on the review panel’s ability to access information about research and products, the binding power of their recommendations and the amount of independence that DeepMind could maintain from Google, according to these people.

A spokeswoman for DeepMind’s health-care unit in the U.K. declined to comment specifically about the board’s deliberations. After the reorganization, the company found that the board, called the Independent Review Panel, was “unlikely to be the right structure in the future.”

Google bought DeepMind in 2014, promising it a degree of autonomy to pursue its research on artificial intelligence. In 2016, DeepMind set up a special unit called DeepMind Health to focus on health-care-related opportunities. At the same time, DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman unveiled a board of nine veterans of government and industry, drawn from the arts, sciences and technology sectors, to meet once a quarter and scrutinize its work with the U.K.’s publicly funded health service. Among its tasks, the group had to produce a public annual report.

Google said it would build the app into an “AI-powered assistant for nurses and doctors everywhere.” That caused concern in public health and privacy circles because of previous assurances from Google and DeepMind that the two wouldn’t share health records.

DeepMind Health was renamed Google Health, becoming part of an umbrella division uniting Google’s other health-focused units like health-tracking platform Google Fit and Verily, a life-sciences research arm.

Inside the review board, many directors felt blindsided, according to people familiar with the matter. Some directors complained they could have played a helpful role in explaining the change of control of the Streams app to the public if given earlier insight.

The review panel still plans to publish a final “lessons learned” report, according to a person familiar with the matter, which will make recommendations about how better to set up such boards in the future.

Florida Prosecutors Offer to Drop Charges Against Patriots Owner Robert Kraft

The proposed deal, however, calls for Kraft to admit he would have been found guilty at trial

Florida prosecutors have offered to drop charges against New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and a number of other men charged with soliciting prostitution, according to a person familiar with the matter, but there is a catch. The proposed agreement calls for the men to admit they would have been proven guilty at trial.

The proposed deferred prosecution agreement calls for completion of an education course about prostitution, completion of 100 hours of community service, screening for sexually transmitted diseases and payment of some court costs.

But in an unusual provision, the agreement also calls for the defendants to review the evidence in the case and agree that, if it were to go to trial, the state would be able to prove their guilt, this person said. It isn’t clear whether Mr. Kraft and others would accept such a condition. When the charges were announced, a spokesman for Mr. Kraft denied he engaged in illegal activity.

A spokesman for the state attorney’s office said that it is the standard resolution for first-time offenders, or they go to trial. A spokeswoman for the Jupiter Police Department did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Mr. Kraft, whose Patriots won the Super Bowl in February, was one of more than two dozen men charged with solicitation last month in Jupiter as part of a multi-city investigation into multiple South Florida spas. One of those locations was Orchids of Asia Day Spa, which Mr. Kraft allegedly visited and received sex acts. Prosecutors charged him with two counts of soliciting prostitution, acts they say were caught on video surveillance. Mr. Kraft has pleaded not guilty.

Legal experts have raised questions about the tactics Jupiter, Fla., police used in obtaining search warrants for an investigation they said was intended to stop a growing human trafficking problem.

Prosecutors and law-enforcement officials had described the investigation as a probe into human trafficking and portrayed the men who patronized the spas as contributing to the demand for sex slavery. In announcing the charges, Dave Aronberg, the state attorney for Palm Beach County, had called human trafficking “evil in our midst,” echoing the rhetoric of law-enforcement officials.

But no one has been charged with human trafficking in the case. Prosecutors’ affidavits have not detailed evidence of human trafficking at Orchids of Asia Day Spa.

“The police are making this case that this is a major human trafficking ring, and that’s why it’s so serious,” said Duncan Levin, a former federal prosecutor and managing partner of Tucker Levin, PLLC who is not connected to the case. “The fact that they had cameras installed in the locations for so long somewhat undermines the claim that there was an extraordinary danger to the people working in the establishment.

Prosecutors alleged they saw Mr. Kraft, 77 years old, enter Orchids of Asia Day Spa, located in a small strip mall, on two occasions and saw him pay cash and receive sex acts. He was identified in a traffic stop after his first visit on Jan. 19, when he was the passenger in a vehicle, and visited the spa again the next day, before the Patriots played the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game.

At least one of the women Mr. Kraft was alleged to have engaged with was an operator of the spa, while both were licensed, according to Florida Department of Health records.

Mr. Kraft could still face punishment from the NFL, which has said in regards to him that the league’s “personal conduct policy applies equally to everyone.” The league said it would “take appropriate action as warranted based on the facts.”

The league has previously disciplined players in cases where they were not prosecuted.

“I think Kraft’s biggest problem is going to be NFL management,” said David Weinstein, a Miami lawyer and former prosecutor in the Southern District of Florida. “Their standards are far lower than proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Former British Soldier Charged With Murder in ‘Bloody Sunday’ Massacre

The soldier, identified only as Soldier F, was on Thursday charged by prosecutors in Northern Ireland with two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder for his alleged role in the 1972 Bloody Sunday killings in Londonderry.

Thirteen civilians were killed when British Army paratroopers opened fire on a civil rights march in Northern Ireland’s second-largest city, also known as Derry, in one of the bloodiest and most-contested episodes of the sectarian conflict known as the Troubles.

Yet news of the prosecution was met with dismay in London, where many lawmakers are deeply uncomfortable at the idea that former military and police personnel face the threat of legal action for alleged offenses committed decades ago in the heat of the conflict.

Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said the government will pay Soldier F’s legal costs and pledged reforms to ensure former soldiers aren’t “unfairly treated” in investigations into Troubles-era deaths. The government has yet to publish firm proposals but ideas floated include a statute of limitations to limit prosecutions.

“Our serving and former personnel cannot live in constant fear of prosecution,” he said.

The charges represent the culmination of a fresh police investigation into Bloody Sunday triggered by a 12-year inquiry into the events of Jan. 30, 1972, that in 2010 concluded the victims posed no threat and the killings were unjustified.

The inquiry overturned an earlier report that had cleared the soldiers of wrongdoing and blamed the march’s organizers.

What happened on Bloody Sunday boosted support for the Irish Republican Army and intensified hostility toward the British military, deepening the violent conflict of the years that followed, the 2010 inquiry concluded. It called the events of that day “a tragedy for the bereaved and the wounded, and a catastrophe for the people of Northern Ireland.”

Former Prime Minister David Cameron, in office at the time the inquiry published its conclusions, apologized to the victims’ families.

In the latest investigation, the actions of 16 other soldiers and two IRA members were also revisited but prosecutors said a lack of evidence meant no other charges were brought.

Soldier F has been charged with the murder of James Wray, 22, and William McKinney, 26, prosecutors said, and the attempted murder of four others wounded by gunfire.

In successive probes, Soldier F and others testified that they shot at people in possession of bombs or firearms, claims roundly rejected by the inquiry.

At a press conference in Londonderry, relatives of those killed on Bloody Sunday expressed disappointment no other prosecutions were brought, though they welcomed the charges against Soldier F for the deaths of Mr. Wray and Mr. McKinney after their long campaign for justice.

“Their victory is our victory,” said John Kelly, whose brother Michael also died on Bloody Sunday.

Why the secret to success is setting the right goals | John Doerr

Our leaders and institutions are failing us, but it’s not always because they’re bad or unethical, says venture capitalist John Doerr — often, it’s simply because they’re leading us toward the wrong objectives. In this practical talk, Doerr shows us how we can get back on track with “Objectives and Key Results,” or OKRs — a goal-setting system that’s been employed by the likes of Google, Intel and Bono to set and execute on audacious goals. Learn more about how setting the right goals can mean the difference between success and failure — and how we can use OKRs to hold our leaders and ourselves accountable.