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Partnership on AI: Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and IBM join forces

Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and IBM are joining forces to create a "Partnership on Artificial Intelligence."

By: Tech Desk | Published: September 29, 2016 11:56:07 am
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True Artificial Intelligence might still be some decades away, but machine learning has become an important part of daily computing be it on smartphones or your PC. Now it looks like the top technology companies namely Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and IBM are joining forces to create a new organisation called “Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to benefit people and society” or simply Partnership on AI.

The goal of the organisation will be to study and create best AI practices and also help the general crowd understand what AI is, and understand how it will influence people and society.

Interestingly Apple and Tesla boss Elon Musk are not part of this society. Don’t forget Elon Musk has been warning humanity about the dangers of AI, and has even said that when it comes to this, there’s one company that worries him in particular aka Google. Musk even set up a non-profit organisation called OpenAI in 2015 to make sure that SkyNet doesn’t end up being a reality.

Now Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and IBM are also going to have their own AI group. According to their website, the idea is to “advance the public’s understanding of AI, and to serve as an open platform for discussion and engagement about AI and its influences on people and society.”

It will also “conduct research, organise discussions, share insights, provide thought leadership, consult with relevant third parties, respond to questions from the public and media, and create educational material that advance the understanding of AI technologies…” The group will also be exploring ethical and transparency questions around AI and how it will impact user privacy.

Each of the founding member company has a representative on board Partnership on AI. The current list includes: Ralf Herbrich from Amazon, Mustafa Suleyman from DeepMind/Google, Yann LeCun from Facebook, Francesca Rossi from IBM, and Eric Horvitz from Microsoft.

Also read: Google machine learning is smart, but not intelligent (yet)

Almost all of these companies are focusing on Artificial Intelligence as the future. Google and its DeepMind in particular has made huge leaps in machine learning. DeepMind’s AlphaGo was able to beat a human world champion at the ancient Chinese game of Go, which is considered a more instinct-based game.

The press statement says, “Academics, non-profits, and specialists in policy and ethics will be invited to join the Board of the organization,” as well. The group claims it will not lobby with government or other policymaking bodies.

The group also says they will have “equal representation of corporate and non-corporate members on the board.”  All of the founding members will make financial and research resource contributions to promote AI.

Overall the goal of Partnership on AI to ensure that “applications of AI are beneficial to people and society.” What is interesting is that all these companies are also competing with each other when it comes to artificial intelligence and machine learning.

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