Partnership on AI holds 1st board meeting, research activities to be announced

February 3, 2017


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The Partnership on AI holds its first ever Board of Trustees meeting in San Francisco on Friday and is expected to announce its recent research activities.

The Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society held its first Board of Trustees meeting with newcomer Tom Gruber from Apple joining the table.

After Friday’s meeting, the Board is expected to announce “how other people and organizations can participate and join the Partnership, as well as the initial program of research and activities.”

The Board of Trustees will provide direction and oversee the general activities of the Partnership on AI while an Executive Steering Committee will guide, commission, and evaluate activities within the overall objectives and scope set by the Board.

The Partnership on AI was formed in September of last year without Apple; however, the company has been involved and collaborating with the Partnership since before it was first announced, and the company recently published its first research paper.

Read More: Is Apple’s research paper on AI a blueprint for mapping human emotions?

You can see a full list of the companies and Board members on the Partnership’s website.

The Partnership started as a way to bring the major tech giants together to share research and become the moral authority on AI ethics and best practices.

Included in the Partnership are Google, DeepMind, Microsoft, IBM, Amazon, Facebook, and now Apple, among others.

The AI best practices conglomerate claimed that it “does not intend to lobby government or other policymaking bodies;” however, specialists in policy and ethics were invited to join the “Board of the organization.”

But if the Partnership does become the leading authority on AI best practices, its research and findings will no doubt affect governments and policymaking bodies, making it all the more influential because governments will turn to the Partnership for its expert opinions.

Read More: Partnership on AI vs OpenAI: Consolidation of Power vs Open Source

The consolidation of power among the biggest companies working on AI research has the potential to become an oligarchy rather than a moral and ethical compass for the betterment of humanity.

Yet the Partnership on AI is by no means the only partnership floating around between the big companies.

OpenAI partnered with Microsoft in its mission to “Democratize AI,” and both OpenAI and Microsoft are on the Partnership on AI’s Board of Trustees, and every company in the Partnership on AI is a business competitor of the other.

Read More: Microsoft’s mission to democratize AI must resist temptation for oligarchy

It’s as if all the competing companies banded together for a common cause, but what will become of the Partnership later down the road? Will it be the beginning of a new super-corporation, or will it simply remain as a mutually-respected partnership while the different companies go about their own businesses?

Will it be a Game of Thrones-like scenario where loyalties only last as long as they are beneficial, and after that they severed? If so, who would come out on top?

This author is hoping for more of a Lord of the Rings scenario, where groups who were once enemies like Dwarves and Elves could band together to fight injustice, and when the battles were all over, remained friends for the rest of their days.


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