Positive Attitudes: Pinterest CEO Calls On Industry To Self-Regulate AI

Pinterest CEO Bill Ready is calling on social-media companies to self-regulate AI and to take accountability for building a more positive internet. He looks at the state of artificial intelligence (AI) and the impact on society if measures are not put in place to control it.

In a LinkedIn post, he points to the use of social media as a means to convince young people to use tobacco. His concerns now are focused on AI and mental health.

“What comes next is a choice. What will social media do with this next generation of AI?” he wrote. “Calls for change have come from parents, researchers, whistle-blowers, regulators, and lawmakers for years. But the call needs to come from within social media as well.”



Pinterest trains its AI models to prioritize explicit intent signals, which could include what people pin to the platform, what they might search for, or what they save to their boards to act on later, he explains.

“When you tune AI on those more conscious, explicit actions, you get very different outcomes than when you optimize for views alone,” he wrote. “In that environment, additive rather than addictive content wins, largely because the user is playing a more deliberate role in choosing. So far, it’s working. And we know this because of our next choice.” 

He uses the call to self-regulate AI in social media as a way to introduce research conducted with U.C. Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. The research examined causal links between inspiration and wellbeing.

Pinterest for years has made efforts to promote its platform as a place to share positive thinking. The study found that 10 minutes per day of active engagement with inspiring content on Pinterest by Gen Z users sets a barrier against rising burnout, stress and social disconnectedness. across the UK, Canada, Similar data was found across Australia, Germany, France, Brazil, and Japan.

Some 60% of consumers agree that they are more likely to remember, trust and purchase from brands in positive environments.

The research with U.C. Berkley found that a daily dose of inspiration preserves the capacity for daily positive emotion, buffers against feelings of social disconnectedness and even helps you stay motivated to do things.

It also suggests higher levels of inspiration make it easier to relax. This higher level of relaxation came from seeking inspiration on Pinterest, and was not true of the control condition. In the control condition using puzzles online, there was no relationship between inspiration and relaxation.

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