Corporate Dream Team Forms To Solve Tech’s Biggest Innovation

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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Some of the world biggest companies are creating an alliance in order to develop artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities and study the potential applications of the revolutionary technology.

Google, Amazon, IBM, Microsoft and Facebook are teaming up to “conduct research, recommend best practices, and publish research under an open license,” according to The Guardian.

Areas of research include “ethics, fairness and inclusivity; transparency, privacy, and interoperability; collaboration between people and AI systems; and the trustworthiness, reliability and robustness of the technology.”

Artificial intelligence, or machine-based knowledge, optimizes a mechanism’s functionality by allowing it to be aware of its environment and take appropriate actions–much like what humans do naturally.

The association asserts it has no intention of becoming a lobbying group.

The coalition is called the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society, and each corporation possesses the capacity for AI development since they already have robust research teams in place through other past and current projects.

At least two big name tech players are not part of the group: Tim Cook and Apple, as well as Elon Musk and his many initiatives, specifically OpenAI.

“We’ve been in discussions with Apple, I know they’re enthusiastic about this effort, and I’d personally hope to see them join,” Eric Horvitz, technical fellow and one of the partnership’s co-chairs for the time being, told The Guardian.

Elon Musk’s research enterprise OpenAI is also not part of the large consortium. Musk has been developing autonomous technology, which falls under the artificial intelligence umbrella, for his Tesla vehicles for quite some time.

“Our goal is to advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, unconstrained by a need to generate financial return,” Open AI’s online introduction statement reads.

Perhaps Musk’s absence is because he has some reservations about autonomous robots. Musk has been called an “alarmist” for supporting campaigns preventing the proliferation of autonomous robots. Stephen Hawking has also warned against the potential problems that could arise from the misapplication of artificial intelligence.

“It is deeply unfortunate that luminaries such as Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking have contributed to feverish hand-wringing about a looming artificial intelligence apocalypse,” President Robert D. Atkinson of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, said in a statement.

OpenAI’s co-founder and CTO Greg Brockman is pleased with the newly formed alliance, but made no explicit comment on any participation.

“We’re happy to see the launch of the group — coordination in the industry is good for everyone. We’re looking forward to non-profits being included as first-class members in the future,” Brockman said.

Aside from Apple or OpenAI, there are other potential members in the knowledge-dense technology industry, whether in Silicon Valley or elsewhere in the world.

“We’re in the process of inviting many many different research labs and groups,” Mustafa Suleyman of U.K.-based DeepMind Technologies, the other co-chair along with Horvitz, told the Guardian. DeepMind was acquired by Google for more than $500 million in early 2014.

Combining all of the expertise and resources into one giant collaborative project could make artificial intelligence development and implementation into society come faster than ever.

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