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Tech Giants Join Forces for Historic Artificial Intelligence Alliance

In an unprecedented move, five of the world’s biggest tech companies – Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, Amazon and Alphabet, otherwise competitors, have formed an historic alliance to cooperatively develop artificial intelligence technologies.
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The group, officially named the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society, or just Partnership on AI, is dedicated to address potential problems the rapid development of machine intelligence can raise, before those problems appear. The group encourages the sharing of ideas and research related to AI, as each multinational tech giant has its own AI prototype.

The group states that it is dedicated to working with the public, to both educate about the benefits of the technology and to hear concerns, varying from job loss to — potentially — robot uprisings.

The group will have corporate and non-corporate members in its projects and discussions, with research organizations, including the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, included. Funds and logistical support will be provided by the tech giants.

According to Mustafa Suleyman, co-founder of Google DeepMind and co-chairman of the Partnership on AI, "the reason we all work on AI is because we passionately believe its ability to transform our world. The positive impact of AI will depend not only on the quality of our algorithms, but the on the amount of public discussion… to ensure AI is understood by and benefits as many people as possible."

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The Partnership on AI has released an ethics code, detailing how member companies will work responsibly to ensure that people will benefit from emerging technologies. Along with the necessary safeguards written into AI algorithms, the technology itself must be clear and simple for all to make use of it.

Self-driving cars, Google's image search and its voice recognition engine are all implementations of artificial intelligence. Each of the five companies has nascent AI technology, including Google's DeepMind, IBM's Watson API, Microsoft Face API and Amazon's Echo.

According to Business Insider, Apple will not currently join the group. However, Eric Horvitz, technical fellow and managing director at Microsoft Research, said, "We've been in discussions with Apple and they're enthusiastic about the effort. I personally hope to see them join."

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