Apple has joined a technology industry alliance which aims to establish the best practices for the opportunities and challenges faced within the field of AI. Apple joins Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, IBM and Google-owned British AI firm DeepMind who last year established the non-profit organization which they called 'Partnership on AI'.
In a statement issued by the Partnership on AI group, they formally announced Apple's participation within the research organization as they became the sixth founding member. It further disclosed in the statement that Apple had been involved in a consultancy capacity with the partnership prior to its formal launch in September last year. It was also revealed that the partnership will host its inaugural board meeting in San Francisco in February.
The collaboration between the major tech companies involved in this partnership have stated that in addition to establishing the best practices for the opportunities and challenges of AI- they have also expressed their desire to address issues including privacy, interoperability and collaboration between people and AI systems.
The statement read: "Apple has been involved and has been collaborating with the partnership since before it was first announced and we're thrilled to formalize its membership. Major technology firms have joined forces in this group and have stated aims including cooperation on "best practices" for AI and using the technology to benefit people and society."
The partnership was established following concerns raised that new AI efforts could potentially spin out of control and ultimately end up being severely detrimental to society. The collaboration between the tech firms will see them embark on research, the recommendation of best practices, and will publish research under an open license in areas such as ethics, fairness, inclusivity, transparency, privacy and interoperability.
According to the statement, it will seek to examine the collaboration between people and AI systems which will test the trustworthiness, reliability and robustness of the technology.
Tech companies have already invested heavily in creating software in order to help machines think more like people - ideally acting as virtual assistants who get to know users and attempt to try and anticipate their needs and requirements.
In 2015, Tesla CEO, Elon Musk and SpaceX founder participated in the establishment of a nonprofit research company named Open AI which was devoted to developing AI that would help people and not hurt them. However, he became embroiled in controversy within the technology world by stating that AI could turn on humanity and be its ruin instead of a salvation.
A concern expressed by Musk was that highly advanced artificial intelligence would be left to its own devices, or in the hands of a few people, to the detriment of civilization as a whole.
People joining tech company executives on the Partnership board included Dario Amodei of Open AI along with members of the American Civil Liberties Union; the MacArthur Foundation, and the University of California, Berkeley.