Sony on Tuesday open-sourced its Neural Network Libraries, a framework meant for developing artificial intelligence (AI) solutions with deep learning capabilities, the Japanse tech giant said in a statement. The company is hoping that its latest move will help grow a development community centered around its software tools and consequently improve the "core libraries" of the framework, thus helping advance this emerging technology. The decision to make its proprietary deep learning libraries available to everyone free of charge mimics those recently made by a number of other tech giants including Google, Amazon, and Facebook, all of whom are currently in the process of trying to incentivize AI developers to use their tools and grow their software ecosystems.
Sony's Neural Network Libraries can be distributed, modified, and completely repurposed with no royalties involved, as is customary for open source software. The public release of the company's libraries can be seen as an extension of its long-term AI strategy that also saw it open-source TensorFlow last year, working to actively develop that machine learning platform alongside the global development community. With this technology and related solutions continuing to advance at a steady pace, many industry watchers are predicting that AI will be the next big evolution in consumer electronics and other segments, possibly changing the everyday life of the average person in a similar manner to how the Internet revolutionized numerous fields in the '90s.
The shift toward AI and specifically AI capable of evolving on its own through deep learning solutions can already be seen in a number of segments, with Amazon and Google pushing Alexa and the Google Assistant, and many smaller developers looking to implement "smart" algorithms into everything from email apps to navigation tools and social media. With the growing adoption rates of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, AI-powered products and services are projected to play a much larger role in people's everyday lives in the coming years, though it remains to be seen which tech giant will manage to seize the largest portion of this emerging market and position its creations as the framework for AI development.