Major Tech Firms Forge New AI Alliance

It was announced today that Google has partnered with Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and IBM in forming a new organization to conduct research into the development and use of Artificial Intelligence. This organization is called ‘Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society’, and its purpose is to  conduct research and provide recommendations on best practices concerning ethics, fairness, inclusivity, transparency, privacy, interoperability, collaboration, trustworthiness, reliability and robustness of AI technology. The announcement also mentions that this organization does not plan to be involved in government lobbying.

The partnership is also notable for the exclusion of both Apple and OpenAI, the research operation backed by Elon Musk and Peter Thiel. Specifically for Google it will be its DeepMind branch that will be involved in the new non-profit organization. All of the participants already have active AI departments with familiar implementations such as the Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and IBM’s Watson. It is said that Apple was involved in early discussions so could still become involved at a later time.

Each partner will contribute resources, which could include skilled staff, finance, existing code or data. The board will include both corporate and non-corporate members, with the aim to encourage participation from academic organizations and other industry experts. Discussions with other AI groups are also underway, including with the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2).

manufacturing, home automation and transportation are also some of the topics this organization will be covering it seems, even though the details haven't been specified in the announcement. Robots and driverless cars are probably the most viable areas of development, alongside the personal assistants in mobile and home devices. Issues are to be expected with allowing AI to have more influence and control in our private and corporate lives, whether that be from accidents, malfunctions or loss of jobs. The new group won’t be able to avoid every problem, but may be able to help influence the development of AI to have more positive impacts as it gradually becomes a more prevalent part of our everyday lives.

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