Microsoft has been talking a lot about democratizing AI this week, and now the company has taken a big step to substantiate that claim. In collaboration with Amazon, Google, Facebook and IBM, the company has founded a non-profit with an AI focus.
The Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society plans to educate users on AI technology and away fears.
Goals of the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence
More importantly, the organization will develop best practices on AI and its challenges. The goal is very similar to Microsoft's mission statement – using AI to improve society.
“We're excited about this historic collaboration on AI and its influences on people and society,” said Eric Horvitz, managing director at Microsoft, “We see great value ahead with harnessing AI advances in numerous areas, including health, education, transportation, public welfare, and personal empowerment.”
The members of will contribute research papers with an open license in subjects like ethics, fairness, inclusive, privacy and trustworthiness. They will also focus on collaboration between humans and AI, transparency, and robustness.
The board itself will consist of specialists, academics, representatives from other non-profits. Each group will have an equal say to ensure that corporate interests don't dominate the discourse.
“As researchers in industry, we take very seriously the trust people have in us to ensure advances are made with utmost consideration for human values,”
said Yann LeCun, director of AI research at Facebook.
According to the partnership, the plan isn't to become a lobbying organization. Each company wants AI succeed, but only in the right way.
Elon Musk's Open AI has a similar focus but is noticeably absent from the board. However, CTO Greg Brockman did praise the organization.
“We're happy to see the launch of the group — coordination in the industry is good for everyone,” he says.“We're looking forward to non-profits being included as first-class members in the future.”
Open AI plans to compliment the organization, rather than be an outright member. The two groups have begun discussions on how they can work together, and admit that they have similar goals.
The lack of direct involvement is probably a positive thing, as it diversifies the AI non-profit environment. If handled correctly, the collaboration could result in widespread, positive change for society.