Apple To Join Google, Facebook, IBM And Microsoft In ‘Partnership For AI’ Alliance

Apple is reportedly about to join the ‘Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society’, or ‘Partnership on AI’ for short.

The non-profit group was established by founding members including Amazon, Facebook, Google (DeepMind), IBM and Microsoft last September, to explore the ethics and applications of technology that could transform the entire tech industry.

Apple’s move could signal an end to the iPhone maker’s traditional secretive development strategy, and instead see it embrace a more collaborate approach.

AI Alliance

Apple’s decision to join the Partnership on AI alliance was reported by Bloomberg, which quoted  people familiar with the situation as its source.

That said, representatives from both Apple and the Partnership on AI reportedly declined to comment on the matter.

The Partnership on AI had some notable absentees from its membership list when it was created last year. Firms such as Apple, Twitter, Intel and even China’s Baidu for example were not on the membership roster.

The group was founded with the intention to conduct and publish research on an open licence in areas such as ethics, transparency, privacy, interoperability, reliability and interaction between humans and AI systems.

Opening Up?

Apple of course entered the AI market back in 2011 with the arrival of its Siri virtual assistant in 2011.

But it has lost ground in recent years to its rivals and according to Bloomberg, Apple’s penchant for secrecy has limited its efforts to improve its AI offerings and hire the best talent.

This is apparently down to the fact that researchers in the AI field like to publish their findings, which a process that Apple tends not to encourage. Apple also likes to develop its technology by itself with no outside parties.

But Apple may be changing this approach, as evidenced with the hiring of Professor Russ Salakhutdinov and the publishing of its first public AI paper. It has also made a number of acquisitions of AI startups, such as Perceptio and VocalIQ.

But there are ongoing concerns about the issue of artificial intelligence, which groups such as the Partnership on AI will have to address.

Numerous figures, including Professor Stephen Hawking, have expressed concerns AI could become a threat to the human race.

Elon Musk shares these views and has called for regulation of AI research at an international level to prevent the creation of unknown forces.

Quiz: Put your knowledge of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the test.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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