As artificial intelligence becomes an increasingly powerful force, some of the world’s biggest companies are worrying about how the technology will be used ethically, and how the public will perceive its spread. To combat these issues, five tech companies — Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, and IBM — set up a research group called the Partnership on AI.
As reported yesterday, Apple has joined the Partnership on AI ranks along with six new trustees from corporate and nonprofits, cementing the Partnership’s position as the foremost industry AI research group.
“Apple has joined the Partnership on AI as a founding member,” reads an official statement from the consortium on its website. “The company has been involved and collaborating with the Partnership since before it was first announced and is thrilled to formalize its membership alongside Amazon, Facebook, Google/DeepMind, IBM, and Microsoft.”
The Partnership on AI was announced at the end of last year with the aim of creating a more open AI ecosystem, although at the time there were some notable companies missing from the collective, including not just Apple, but also the likes of Twitter, Intel and China’s Baidu.
“Diversity of thought across the organization is crucial to ensure that we effectively explore and address the influences of AI on people and society, provide guidance on AI best practices, and seek to advance the public’s understanding of AI,” the statement continues. “We are committed to having balanced representation at the leadership, executive, and operations levels.”
The news is a big step for Apple, demonstrating the company is prepared to open itself up more to standardized technologies. This will be welcome news for many of the company’s fans who think the tech manufacturer had been limiting itself too much by remaining secretive regarding its AI research. It’s also a sign that the company is taking AI seriously, something that became evident in October last year when the company opened up its very own AI research and development centre based in Yokohama, Japan.