Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Amazon, and IBM are forming Partnership On AI

Artificial Intelligence is not so far off in the minds of people as it was ten years ago. Up until a decade ago, we just haven’t interacted with AI-like contraptions like we are doing it today, on a daily basis. Google Now, Cortana, Siri or Amazon Alexa, are having one thing in common; all these, let’s call them companion apps, are based on machine-learning algorithms that take user data and then discover emerging patterns. Combined with a massive amount of data available on the web, the apps can show some level of prediction, since most of our behavioral patterns (like going to work each day, stopping by a favorite grocery shop after work, or when picking up the morning music) are predictive, to some degree.

By using this widely known fact about human behavior, the companions can hand us the route for our work each day, or show us cinema repertoire for the coming weekend. This “AI mimicking” made masses become familiar with AI. Add various social network and chat bots in the formula and the big tech companies have piles of user data that can be used as a new material for huge servers used for deep learning (like the Facebook’s Big Sur). And now, since the AI research is entering the new era, big companies that interest in AI are founding a new organization called The Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society (or, simply stated, Partnership on AI).

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The organization is non-profit, and it members include Amazon, Google, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft. The organization’s statement is to “address opportunities and challenges with AI technologies.” The goal can be achieved with research, which will be conducted and publicly available, financed by the members. Aside from doing research about AI, the  Partnership on AI will organize conferences, host discussions, and try to get the public more familiar with AI.

In its press release, the Partnership on AI states that “AI technologies hold tremendous potential to improve many aspects of life, ranging from healthcare, education, and manufacturing to home automation and transportation. We will share our work openly with the public and encourage their participation. The actions of the Partnership, including much of its discussions, meetings, results, and guidance, will be made publicly available.”

This move is not surprising. Today, we have many AI-like projects. Google DeepMind, Facebook’s DeepText, various self-driving projects, IBM Watson, etc. and if companies join their resources, the AI field will start moving faster than ever. By combining their research, making new projects and advancing to the understanding of AI, the Partnership on AI can help for society to start moving towards the next era, where machines can vastly assist human society.

The most important part of this new organization is that all research data will be publicly available, meaning that goals aren’t comprised exclusively out of personal interests ( each member of the initiative  will greatly benefit from it). Individuals that are in front of the organization are Greg S. Corrado (senior scientists at Google), Professor Francesca Rossi (research scientist at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Centre), Yann LeCun (Chief of Facebook’s AI department), Mustafa Suleyman (head of applied AI at Google’s DeepMind), Eric Horovitz (managing director of Microsoft’s Redmond research lab), and Ralf Herbrich (director of machine learning at Amazon).

Aside from being part of the newly founded Partnership on AI initiative, Microsoft, Google, IBM, and Facebook are members of the Open Compute Project, another partnership that has the goal of advancing AI research.

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