Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and IBM have formed a partnership to lead Artificial Intelligence (AI) efforts. The Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to benefit people and society seeks to formulate the best practices on the field and make sure everyone understands this new technology and how it will affect the world’s future.

The Partnership on AI would interact with multiple disciplines to make sure AI innovations will be an advantage for humankind and not the beginning of many problems. Psychologists, philosophers, lawmakers, sociologists, and economists will be part of the project to assure ethics on every research involving AI, said the new society on its website.

Artificial Intelligence
Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, IBM, and DeepMind have allied on Artificial Intelligence development. Image credit: Corbis.

Mustafa Suleyman from DeepMind —and interim co-chair of Partnership on AI— said the group is in the process of inviting different research labs since the six companies are trying to open the initiative “as widely as possible at different efforts.”

The tech companies are determined to get people informed on AI, its current research and future projects the group would develop. The board of the partnership will have equal representation between corporate and non-corporate members.

All six founding members —five considering DeepMind is part of Google— already have their AI research teams. What they have already discovered on the field will be shared to accelerate the creation of new technology as a partnership.

DeepMind is a pure research organization and has made a significant advance creating the first machine that beat a human champion on the ancient board game Go. IBM counts with its well-known research team on AI: Watson and Amazon’s Alexa.

Amazon: ‘We’re in a golden age of machine learning and AI’

Suleyman and Google’s Greg Corrado said in a joint statement that the group is a significant step toward breaking down barriers for artificial intelligence, to share the best practices, research, and maximize the benefits to society. As a team focused on AI, they will “tackle” ethical concerns and make sure other fields are involved in their developments.

Suleyman and Corrado added they are proud of how the companies have come together and confessed they are looking forward to working with their new partners and others outside the Partnership on AI to make sure AI has the broad and transformative impact they hope.

Amazon’s director of machine learning science and core machine learning, Ralf Herbrich, said “we’re in a golden age of machine learning and AI. This partnership will ensure we’re including the best and the brightest in this space in the conversation to improve customer trust and benefit society,” as reported by the Guardian.

Facebook’s director of AI research, Yann LeCun emphasized that collaborating with others on the field and sharing findings is Facebook’s focus to push new boundaries within the company and across the entire research community.

Francesca Rossi from IBM added that the partnership would offer consumers and industrial users of cognitive systems a voice on the development of the technology that will foster the interaction between intelligent machines and people. Rossi said that this cooperation would solve some of the world’s most challenging problems in a trustworthy and beneficial way.

Apple and Elon Musk are not attending the party

Apple is known for following its own path when other tech giants put their differences aside and get together to work as a group. Still, the absence of the company on the partnership is a surprise.

The iPhone maker company has several AI projects regarding personal assistants, image recognition, and voice control and the Partnership on AI wants Apple to be a part of the initiative.

Artificial Intelligence
Spike Jonze’s drama film “Her” surprised Artificial Intelligence advocates in 2013, with the story of a man who falls in love with a voice assistant. Image credit: Her.

Eric Horvitz from Microsoft said the new AI group has been talking to Apple and stated he hopes to see them join the partnership. Horvitz also said he knows Apple is enthusiastic about the efforts made by the six companies, according to the Guardian.

Missing too from the partnership is Elon Musk’s OpenAI. The latter has similar goals to that of the recently created group. It also wants to develop advanced digital intelligence and accelerate the way it can benefit humanity. Elon Musk-backed AI team is one of the field’s best-funded independent AI research labs, with $1 billion. 

Source: The Guardian