September 29, 2016
Top tech firms join forces to tackle Artificial Intelligence
On Wednesday, Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet, IBM and Microsoft announced a collaboration dedicated to promoting the study and best practices surrounding artificial intelligence.
Under the new Partnership on AI, this group of tech companies will discuss breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, a formal structure for communicating about these matters across company lines.These tech giants have pledged financial support for the initial phase of the project, but down the road, membership and involvement is projected to include activist groups, nonprofits, ethicists and others.
“This group is a huge step forward, breaking down barriers for AI teams to share best practices, research ways to maximize societal benefits, and tackle ethical concerns, and make it easier for those in other fields to engage with everyone’s work,” said Mustafa Suleyman of the AI company Deep Mind and Google ’s Greg Corrado in a joint statement. “We’re really proud of how this has come together, and we’re looking forward to working with everyone inside and outside the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to make sure AI has the broad and transformative impact we all want to see.”
Are you in or out?
Some organizations are noticeably absent from the collaboration. Apple, which has personal assistants, image recognition, and voice control technology based in AI, is not part of the group. The company has a history of going solo when other big players in the industry form an agreement on various issues.
Eric Horvitz, one of the partnership’s two interim co-chairs, said the group has been “in discussions with Apple.”
“I know they’re enthusiastic about this effort, and I’d personally hope to see them join,” Horvitz told The Guardian.
Another organization noticeably absent from the Partnership on AI is OpenAI, the artificial intelligence research group backed by Twitter and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. With around $1 billion in funding, OpenAI is one of the biggest players in the niche industry.
“We’re in the process of inviting many many different research labs and groups,” Suleyman said. “We encourage there to be a diverse range of effort in AI, and we think that’s a great thing. We’re going to be really opening this up as widely as possible to different efforts.”
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