Last September, Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft came together to form a new organisation in a bid to ensure that artificial intelligence (AI) is developed safely, ethically, and transparently. The consortium referred to itself as The Partnership on AI.
Now the cohort of companies is expanding again, with 22 new members being announced in an update on the Partnership on AI website on Tuesday including Silicon Valley giants Salesforce, eBay, and Intel, as well as non-profits like UNICEF and The Future of Humanity Institute.
“These new partners strengthen and broaden our representation, helping to fulfil our goal to build a diverse, balanced, and global set of perspectives on AI,” the Partnership on AI wrote in an update.
The Partnership on AI used the update to spell out some of the work that it plans to do as part of its wider mission. This includes:
- hosting AI Grand Challenges to encourage researchers to address some of the most pressing long-term social and societal issues.
- giving out an award for the academic paper that makes the biggest contribution to “AI, People, and Society”.
- creating a program, known as the Civil Society Fellowship, to provide resources to people at non-profits and NGOs who wish to collaborate on topics in AI and society.
- setting up topic and sector-specific work groups to develop a list of “best practices” for researchers.
Why the consortium was established
The Partnership on AI has been set up to address some of the challenges that AI presents to people and society, while also figuring out how humanity can best take advantage of new technologies in the field, which has advanced rapidly in the last few years.
Murray Shanahan, a professor of cognitive robotics at Imperial College London and a DeepMind employee, endorsed the formation of the Partnership last September, saying: “A small number of large corporations are today the powerhouses behind the development of sophisticated artificial intelligence. The inauguration of the Partnership on AI is a very welcome step towards ensuring this technology is used wisely.”
The partnership is funded and supported by the founding companies, who actually compete with one another across many other parts of their businesses.
During the launch of the consortium, Yann LeCun, director of AI research at Facebook, said: “As researchers in industry, we take very seriously the trust people have in us to ensure advances are made with the utmost consideration for human values.
“By openly collaborating with our peers and sharing findings, we aim to push new boundaries every day, not only within Facebook, but across the entire research community. To do so in partnership with these companies who share our vision will help propel the entire field forward in a thoughtful responsible way.”