Facebook, Google and Other Tech Giants Join Forces To Advance AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform the world for the better, according to Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of Google-owned DeepMind, but it needs to be developed in a "thoughtful, positive and ethical way." That's why some of the top U.S. tech firms announced yesterday that they're creating a new nonprofit organization called the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society.

In addition to Suleyman, the partnership's founding members include Amazon's director of machine learning Ralf Herbrich, Google Research senior scientist Greg Corrado, Facebook director of AI research Yan Lecun, IBM research scientist Francesca Rossi and Microsoft's Eric Horvitz, who's managing director of that company's Washington research lab.

The partnership is being created to advance public understanding of AI technologies, recommend best practices and publish research in areas such as ethics, transparency, privacy, interoperability and trustworthiness, according to a joint announcement from the companies. The new organization plans to work with other professional and scientific groups, but "does not intend to lobby government or other policymaking bodies."

A 'Vital Voice' in Advancing AI

All the companies founding the new partnership have been working intensively on their own to develop AI technologies, although Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is also among a handful of prominent people who have expressed concerns about artificial intelligence.

"I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," Gates said in a 2015 Ask-Me-Anything session on Reddit. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern."

Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who has also voiced concerns about AI even as his companies work to develop it, is notably absent from the new AI partnership, as...

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