Amazon, Google, Facebook, IBM, Microsoft and Google’s DeepMind (whose AlphaGo beat Lee Sedol at Go) have launched a Partnership on AI where they will support research including ethics, fairness and inclusivity, transparency, interoperability, privacy, collaboration of people and AI systems, and trustworthiness, reliability and robustness of artificial intelligence. Apple is apparently in talks to join the partnership, while Elon Musk’s OpenAI is noted missing.

The group’s partnership will also provide a structured platform for AI researchers and key stakeholders for communication, advance public understanding and awareness of AI, its benefits and costs which can be a ‘trusted and expert’ point for questions the public and update the constituents of the current AI progress. The group will also share these insights, consult with third parties and make educational material for topics like machine perception, learning and automated reasoning.

TechCrunch reports that financial support will come from its founding members, and there’s a chance of adding other members to the group. The group’s structure will also let non corporate groups have equal leadership along with tech companies. Its tenets here.

The AI Partnership comes at an interesting timing: all of the member companies are at the forefront of artificial intelligence and have huge amounts of data for testing and developing things in their purview. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then that new, cutting edge developments in computational AI would come from this partnership, if not from those deeply entrenched in AI research independently. Multiple technology companies have been picking up stakes in artificial intelligence companies over the last few years. At the same time, voices of concern (see this, this and this) are raised from various directions. The general public could definitely benefit from transparency and more awareness about AI, helping in allaying of some fears. Read more about the AI ‘revolution’ at WaitButWhy.

In June, a European Union draft paper recommended that robots which run on autonomous code or are powered by Artificial Intelligence could be governed by a “special legal status.” The paper said that annual patent filings for robotics technology had tripled over the last decade.

Developments in the AI field:
– Last month, big data and AI startup Innovaccer raised $15.6 million in series A funding led by Westbridge Capital Partners with participation by other undisclosed angel investors.
– In March, Microsoft, which launched its artificial intelligence based Tay bot had to promptly take it down within 48 hours, as it almost immediately learnt to be a Hitler loving, xenophobic, racist white supremacist.
– In February, US vehicle safety regulators said that the artificial intelligence system piloting a self-driving Google car could be considered as the driver under federal law. This move would clear a major hurdle for making autonomous cars legally acceptable in the US.

Also read: Future Ministry could evaluate threats from new technologies – Vinayak Dalmia & Rajneil Kamath