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Artificial Intelligence: Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and IBM Form Partnership on AI

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The largest and most popular tech companies have announced the creation of "Partnership on AI."

Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon and IBM have teamed up to form a nonprofit organization, appropriately named "Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society (Partnership on AI)," which will educate the public regarding artificial intelligence technologies.

The nonprofit also hopes to define the best practices, challenges and opportunities within the field.

Aside from officials from the tech companies, "Partnership on AI" will also invite other nonprofits, academics and personalities who specialize in ethics and policy development and analysis to be part of the board. These experts will provide guidance on emerging issues related to A.I. and its impact on society.

"Through rigorous research, the development of best practices, and an open and transparent dialogue, the founding members of the Partnership on AI hope to maximize this potential and ensure it benefits as many people as possible," the group states.

The coalition believes that A.I. technologies have great potential in terms of raising quality of life and can be key to addressing important global concerns, such as food, health, education, climate change and inequality.

Aside from having noncorporate entities joining the board, and providing them with equal representation as that of corporate members, the coalition will have each participant contribute research and financial resources to the partnership.

The partnership is currently in talks with the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and the nonprofit research group Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) to also have them on board.

"This group is a huge step forward, breaking down barriers for A.I. teams to share best practices, research ways to maximize societal benefits, and tackle ethical concerns, and make it easier for those in other fields to engage with everyone's work," says Deepmind cofounder Mustafa Suleyman, who also serves as co-chair of Partnership on AI. "We're really proud of how this has come together, and we're looking forward to working with everyone inside and outside the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to make sure A.I. has the broad and transformative impact we all want to see."

Google acquired artificial intelligence company Deepmind back in 2014 for a reported $500 million.

"We see great value ahead with harnessing A.I. advances in numerous areas, including health, education, transportation, public welfare, and personal empowerment. We're extremely pleased with how early discussions among colleagues blossomed into a promising long-term collaboration," says Eric Horvitz, managing director at Microsoft Research. "Beyond folks in industry, we're thrilled to have other stakeholders at the table, including colleagues in ethics, law, policy, and the public at large. We look forward to working arm-in-arm on best practices and on such important topics as ethics, privacy, transparency, bias, inclusiveness, and safety."

Elon Musk and Apple are also being tapped to take part. According to Horvitz, the coalition is in talks with Apple to have it join as well. In a statement he made to The Guardian, Horvitz said that Apple is enthusiastic about the effort.

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