Artificial intelligence

Tech giants forge Partnership on AI

SAN FRANCISCO • Major technology firms have joined forces in a partnership on artificial intelligence (AI), aiming to cooperate on "best practices" on using the technology "to benefit people and society".

Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, IBM and Google-owned British AI firm DeepMind on Wednesday announced a non-profit organisation called "Partnership on AI" focused on helping the public understand the technology and practices in the field.

The move comes amid concerns that new AI efforts could spin out of control and end up being detrimental to society.

The companies "will conduct research, recommend best practices, and publish research under an open licence in areas such as ethics, fairness and inclusiveness; transparency, privacy and inter-operability; collaboration between people and AI systems; and the trustworthiness, reliability and robustness of the technology," according to a statement.

Academics, non-profit groups and specialists in policy and ethics will be invited to join the Partnership on AI's board.

Late last year, SpaceX founder and Tesla chief executive Elon Musk took part in creating a non-profit research company, OpenAI, devoted to developing AI that will help people and not hurt them.

Mr Musk found himself in the middle of a controversy by holding firm that AI could turn on humanity and be its ruin instead of salvation.

"If we create some digital super-intelligence that exceeds us in every way by a lot, it is very important that it be benign," he said at a Code Conference in California in June.

A danger, he contended, was that highly advanced AI would be left to its own devices, or in the hands of a few people, to the detriment of civilisation as a whole.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2016, with the headline 'Tech giants forge Partnership on AI'. Subscribe