Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft partner on AI

Amazon, DeepMind/Google, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft create Partnership on AI, a non-profit organization, which will promote public understanding of AI technologies


Artificial Intelligence technologies hold tremendous potential to improve many aspects of life. Photo: AP
Artificial Intelligence technologies hold tremendous potential to improve many aspects of life. Photo: AP

New Delhi: These are truly exciting times for Artificial Intelligence (AI) as Amazon, DeepMind/Google, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft come together to create a non-profit organization that will work to advance public understanding of AI technologies and formulate best practices on the challenges and opportunities within AI. The organization is named Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society (Partnership on AI) and academics, non-profits, and specialists in policy and ethics will be invited to join it.

The Partnership on AI will study the potential societal impact of AI systems, and develop and share best practices. It will also create working groups for different sectors, for example health care and transportation, develop educational resources and host open forums to widely disseminate information about the latest topics in the field and support an ongoing public discussion about the technology.

It’s no surprise that all five founding companies are not only big tech companies but also have huge AI projects.

For instance, IBM has Watson, Google acquired AI start-up DeepMind in 2014, Amazon has voice assistant Alexa, Microsoft has Cortana and a whole bunch of chatbot projects while Facebook uses AI extensively.

“We’re excited about this historic collaboration on AI and its influences on people and society. We see great value ahead with harnessing AI advances in numerous areas, including health, education, transportation, public welfare, and personal empowerment..We look forward to working arm-in-arm on best practices and on such important topics as ethics, privacy, transparency, bias, inclusiveness, and safety,” said Eric Horvitz, technical fellow & managing director, Microsoft Research.

Initially, the organization’s founding members will each contribute financial and research resources to the partnership. Each founding company has a representative on the board. The current representatives are Ralf Herbrich from Amazon, Mustafa Suleyman from DeepMind/Google, Yann LeCun from Facebook, Francesca Rossi from IBM, and Eric Horvitz from Microsoft.

“Google and DeepMind strongly support an open, collaborative process for developing AI. This group is a huge step forward, breaking down barriers for AI teams to share best practices, research ways to maximize societal benefits and tackle ethical concerns, and make it easier for those in other fields to engage with everyone’s work. We’re really proud of how this has come together, and we’re looking forward to working with everyone inside and outside the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to make sure AI has the broad and transformative impact we all want to see,” said Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder and head of Applied AI, DeepMind; and Greg Corrado, senior research scientist, Google, in a joint statement.

AI technologies hold tremendous potential to improve many aspects of life and 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 to as many people as possible.

“The possibilities for positively impacting a global society with advances in AI are numerous, ranging from connectivity, healthcare, and transportation... By openly collaborating with our peers and sharing findings, we aim to push new boundaries every day, not only within Facebook, but across the entire research community. To do so in partnership with these companies who share our vision will help propel the entire field forward in a thoughtful responsible way,” said Yann LeCun, director of Facebook AI Research.

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