Back in September, we reported several tech giants collaborating on a non-profit research group called the Partnership on AI. The group currently consists of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, IBM, and Facebook, but you may be adding Apple to that list. It’s not the norm for Apple to jump into a collaborative effort with its competition so this is certainly an interesting move by them. Apple tends to do its own R&D in house and tends to keep that data to themselves. Being part of this group will mean a shared effort into researching artificial intelligence and likely sharing much of the data gleaned from it.
“The reason we all work on AI is because we passionately believe its ability to transform our world,” Suleyman said today in a conference call with members of the media. “The positive impact of AI will depend not only on the quality of our algorithms but the on the amount of public discussion … to ensure AI is understood by and benefits as many people as possible.”
Horvitz says recent hyperbole concerning AI’s threats amounted to an “echo chamber of anxiety,” and that is one factor that pushed him and his colleagues to form the nonprofit. Also looming is the possibility of government regulation that may slow down AI developments. “Questions come up about the transparency of our systems and the ability for us to explain ourselves,” Horvitz said, highlighting the possibility of human bias finding its way into algorithms. “The best way forward is with an inclusiveness and open dialogue.” He added that the partnership is not opposed to including government bodies or working with public agencies.
For Apple to join such a group, it probably means they’re pretty vested into the future of AI.
Apple has invested steadily in artificial intelligence, including the acquisition and expansion of AI and machine learning firm Turi, with the results seen in Siri and the company’s iOS and macOS apps. Research teams working for Apple are concentrating on a variety of fields, including health, image processing, language modeling, and event prediction.
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