Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM form a ‘Partnership on AI’
Five top-notch tech companies such as Google’s DeepMind, Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft have come together and created a new group called the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society. The main mission of this group is to promote public understanding of AI (artificial intelligence) while developing best products and services powered by machine learning. These companies will also discuss advancements and best practices for researchers to abide by.
The group notes that it “foresees great societal benefits and opportunities ahead, but we also understand that as with every new technology there will be concerns and confusion associated with new applications and competencies, and we look forward to working together on these important issues.
“We intend to come together to address these important issues, including ethics, safety, transparency, privacy, biases, and fairness.”
In a press release on Wednesday, the group stated: “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.”
Initial financial help will come from these companies and as other stakeholders join the group, the finances are expected to increase.
“We want to involve people impacted by AI as well,” Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder and head of applied AI at DeepMind, a subsidiary of Alphabet (parent company of Google), was quoted as saying.
According to the report, the organisation’s board members will include academics, representatives from other non-for-profit organisations, and specialists in policy and ethics. Also, the organisational structure has been designed to allow non-corporate groups to have equal leadership side-by-side with large tech companies.
“As researchers in industry, we take very seriously the trust people have in us to ensure advances are made with utmost consideration for human values,” director of AI Research at Facebook, Yann LeCun, who will be joining the board of the new organisation, said in a statement.
Ralf Herbrich, Amazon director of Machine Learning, who will be representing Amazon on the board, 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.”
However, despite the initiative’s solid line-up, one can’t help but wonder as to why Apple is not in the list. Speaking to The Guardian, Microsoft’s Eric Horvitz, who serves as one of the project’s interim co-chairs, told that they’ve been in discussions with Cupertino. “I know they’re enthusiastic about this effort,” he said, “and I’d personally hope to see them join.”
Also, another missing name is Elon Musk’s OpenAI, a non-profit AI research project that promises to make its results available to all. Since the team plans to invite more companies and non-profits from around the world to be part of the effort, this may eventually change in the future.