Tech giants form artificial intelligence partnership

Groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence Partnership Formed By Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM

On Wednesday, the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society — formed by Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, and Google’s DeepMind artificial intelligence division — announced it will “create a non-profit organization that will work to advance public understanding of artificial intelligence technologies (AI) and formulate best practices on the challenges and opportunities within the field.”

The organization goes by the Partnership on AI, for short.

A press release from the partnership outlined the primary objectives of the new non-profit.

“The objective of the Partnership on AI is to address opportunities and challenges with AI technologies to benefit people and society. Together, the organization’s members will conduct research, recommend best practices, and publish research under an open license in areas such as ethics, fairness, and inclusivity; transparency, privacy, and interoperability; collaboration between people and AI systems; and the trustworthiness, reliability, and robustness of the technology. It does not intend to lobby government or other policymaking bodies.”

According to the Partnership on AI website, founding members of its team include Ralf Herbrich, Director of Machine Learning at Amazon and Managing Director of the Amazon Development Center Germany; Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder and Head of Applied AI at DeepMind; Greg S. Corrado, senior scientist at Google Research, and a co-founder of the Google Brain Team; Yann Lecun, Director of AI Research at Facebook; Francesca Rossi, a research scientist at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Centre; and Eric Horvitz, a Microsoft Technical Fellow and managing director of Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington research lab.

As the Guardian notes, two Silicon Valley and artificial intelligence powerhouses are missing from the Partnership on AI roster. Neither Apple nor Elon Musk’s OpenAI, which the Guardian estimates to have $1 billion in funding, are currently involved in the partnership.

“Apple, which has been loudly trumpeting its own AI efforts in areas such as personal assistants, image recognition and voice control, is not included in the group,” the Guardian reports. “The company has a long history of going it alone even when other tech giants bury the hatchet.”

Apple is so proud and protective of its work in artificial intelligence that when Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, and Yahoo filed opposition to the U.K.’s Investigatory Powers bill, which would expand the authority of intelligence and law enforcement agencies to gather and intercept data and communications, Apple initially filed its own separate opposition. Apple did, however, eventually join forces with Facebook, Google, and the others in their opposition, according to the Guardian.

The collective intelligence and resources of the Partnership on AI are bound to facilitate extraordinary advances in the field of artificial intelligence. It’s also certain to generate job growth and stimulate the economy in the tech industry, and potentially boost productivity across several sectors.

CNBC sites a report from Accenture, a tech services and consulting firm, that suggests the future of robotics, augmented reality, and personal assistants will become a huge growth industry, reaping benefits in terms of both providing jobs and reducing the workloads in specialized fields.

According to the Accenture report, which analyzed the industry in 12 countries, artificial intelligence technology “that senses the environment, comprehends what’s happening and takes action” would potentially increase productivity by up to 40 percent by 2035. Overall economic growth in the U.S. could possibly also increase from 2.6 percent to 4.6 percent during that same period because of advancements in artificial intelligence.

Sweden, Finland, the U.S., and Japan currently stand to benefit the most from advancements in artificial intelligence, according to Accenture.

The people working at the Partnership for AI agree, but they also believe the benefits of artificial intelligence go well beyond simple economics.

“AI technologies hold tremendous potential to improve many aspects of life, ranging from healthcare, education, and manufacturing to home automation and transportation. Through rigorous research, the development of best practices, and an open and transparent dialogue, the founding members of the Partnership on AI hope to maximize this potential and ensure it benefits as many people as possible.”

[Featured image by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]

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