For the world of education, the billionaire again made a surprise by making a large contribution. The largest single donation was given to Oxford University in England. This contribution aims to build an institution that will study the ethics of artificial intelligence.
United States billionaire (US) Stephen Schwarzman has donated £ 150 million to the university.
“This is a big investment globally in the UK,” said a statement the British government welcomed the large donations reported by the BBC.
While many universities face uncertainty in research funding because of Brexit, this contribution is a big support for Oxford University.
Schwarzman is the chief executive officer (CEO) of the private equity firm Blackstone and one of the famous US billionaires. Previously, his lavish lifestyle sparked criticism, but recently he has also become one of the major donors to education. Schwarzman explained to the BBC that he gave money to Oxford because artificial intelligence was a major issue in this century.
“At the moment, most governments are not prepared to face this, and that is why this will be a different type of technology,” he said. “They will depend on large universities such as Oxford and others around the world who specifically help them think about this,” he said.
Schwarzman said universities need to help shape an ethical framework for change that happens very quickly.
Some economists warn that the development of artificial intelligence can have a huge impact on society, including the loss of employment due to automation or sometimes called the fourth industrial revolution. Academics also raised concerns about the potential for crime in cyberwar and subverted democracy.
The donation by Schwarzman to Oxford after he donated USD350 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to build a center of computing and artificial intelligence. The study of artificial intelligence ethics at Oxford will be the center of the new humanities, bringing a variety of subjects from language to philosophy.
“It’s important for people to remember what it is to be human. Why are we here? What are your values? How technology relates and interacts with it, “he said. “We must make it positive and productive for society, and technology must not be allowed only to do what it wants because it can,” he said.
The donation to Oxford was a few months after billionaire David Harding donated £ 100 million to the University of Cambridge. Also, the richest man in Hong Kong, Li Ka-Shing, promised to pay tuition fees for Chinese university students through his charitable foundation.
Since the new teachings of 2019, the Li Ka-Shing Foundation has paid tuition for four to five years for students at Shantou University, Guangdong Province – China. This move made Li pay $ 14.4 million per year.
“The Foundation hopes this program can help ease the financial burdens of many families and encourage students, and they can learn better to prepare for graduation to face increasingly complex challenges in the global economy,” the foundation’s statement said.
Li, 90, according to Forbes magazine, has a fortune of USD30.4 billion. The story of Li’s life journey is also full of struggles since he began working as a factory floor sweeper when he was young until he entered the ranks of the 28th richest person in the world on the Forbes list in 2019.
He retired from his business empire last year and gave authority to his eldest son, Victor Li. The CK Hutchison Holdings and CK Asset Holdings Li family businesses are involved in various sectors ranging from retail, telecommunications, to electricity. Li became one of the first Hong Kong entrepreneurs to invest in mainland China. The property industry is one of the major contributors to his wealth. The Chinese billionaire received a knighthood from Britain in 2000.
He also earned the nickname “Superman” for the success of his business and investment. Li’s generosity came after the move by US philanthropist Robert F Smith.
Last month, billionaire Robert F Smith made a similar move by paying tuition fees for US universities. Smith shocked graduate graduates in Atlanta, Georgia, when he told them he would pay off the entire college tuition debt. Nearly 400 scholars benefited from the USD40 million pledge.