LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Omidyar Network, a non-profit investment company established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, are investing $10 million each in a fund designed to ensure “ethical considerations and the human impacts” of artificial intelligence (AI) are not overlooked.

The Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund will support AI ethics and governance projects in the US and internationally.

“There’s an urgency to ensure that AI benefits society and minimises harm,” said Hoffman, adding “AI decision-making can influence many aspects of our world yet data and code behind those decisions can be largely invisible.”

The Knight Foundation will invest $5 million in the fund, while the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Jim Pallotta – founder of private investment company Raptor Group – will invest $1 million each, bringing the total to $27 million. The fund is expected to grow as other investors come on board.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab and the Berkman Klein Centre for Internet & Society at Harvard University will serve as founding academic institutions.

Joi Ito, director of the MIT Media Lab, said: “one of the most critical challenges is how do we make sure that the machines we ‘train’ don’t perpetuate and amplify the same human biases that plague society.”

Ito wants to initiate discussion about how society will co-evolve with the technology, and forge links between computer and social sciences to develop intelligent machines that are also socially responsible.