Partnership on AI Members and objectives
Partnership on AI Members and objectives. Image credit: Partnership on AI/TheUSBPort.

Five of the world’s leading tech companies have banded together for everyone’s sake. Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM, and Microsoft are now part of the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society, or ‘Partnership on AI’ for shorts.

The initiative intends to be an awareness vehicle to inform people who may be clueless of artificial intelligence and its potential effect on the world of tomorrow. The ‘Partnership on AI’ is born precisely from the detection of necessity: to ensure that AI has a positive effect on our lives.

The tech giants involved have named their AI subdivision leaders and associate projects as their representatives in the Partnership. The team includes Ralf Herbrich, Director of Machine Learning at Amazon, Yann LeCun, Director of AI Research at Facebook, and Mustafa Suleyman, Head of Applied AI at Google’s DeepMind.

Francesca Rossi, a researcher at IBM T.J. Watson Research Center, and Eric Horovitz, director of Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington research lab are also part of the committee.

Amazon's Ralf Herbrich, Facebook's Yann Lecun, IBM's Fracesca Rossi, Microsoft's Eric Horvitz, Google's Greg S. Corrado and DeepMind's Mustafa Suleyman.
Amazon’s Ralf Herbrich, Facebook’s Yann Lecun, IBM’s Francesca Rossi, Microsoft’s Eric Horvitz, Google’s Greg S. Corrado and DeepMind’s Mustafa Suleyman. Image credit: Partnership on AI/TheUSBPort.

What is the objective of Partnership on AI

Partnership on AI has many different elements at play, so it is hard to conceive the nature of the alliance. While the consortium may share common goals towards the future, the process itself of attaining those goals may prove to have a competitive angle as well.

First off, let us not forget that the members of the partnership are all companies. As businesses, it is only natural that they all look for their personal interests, both creative and commercially.

Many, if not all of them, overlap as service providers and product manufacturers. Microsoft and Amazon currently compete in the realm of personal voice assistants with Cortana and Alexa respectively. Google is also preparing to delve fully into the field with its enhanced voice assistant.

Moreover, the Partnership’s primary focus seems to be strictly on research, with little to no mention on the initiative’s official site of commercial development, applications of the technology or licensing.

Partnership on AI Members.
Partnership on AI Members. Image credit: Partnership on AI/TheSUBPort.

Tesla and Apple are not on the initial roster 

That may prove problematic in the future as it represents a multi-pronged commitment from companies to stick to their plans while openly sharing them with their direct competitors.

Further concerns about the ‘Partnership on AI’ include agents who see the organization as a side body with intentions to steer regulations away from government officials. Members of the Partnership also said they did not intend to do such thing.

Meanwhile, several media outlets have noted Apple and Tesla have no representation on the Partnership’s Board. Apple reportedly declined to join the organization, while Tesla has offered no comment on its intentions. Board members have stated they were in talks with both companies and that prospects of both companies joining in the future are bright.

Source: Partnership on AI