In 2014, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk said in an interview that he believed that AI posed the biggest threat to human existence. That didn’t stop him from co-chairing a billion-dollar AI research nonprofit, but it did make people think about whether artificial intelligence could get out of hand.
Now, five tech giants including Google and its DeepMind subsidiary, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and IBM have come together to form Partnership on AI, a coalition dedicated to highlighting the best practices and ethical research in the field of artificial intelligence.
The group notes that it “foresees great societal benefits and opportunities ahead, but we also understand that as with every new technology there will be concerns and confusion associated with new applications and competencies, and we look forward to working together on these important issues.
We intend to come together to address these important issues, including ethics, safety, transparency, privacy, biases, and fairness.”
To that end, the organization promises to share best practices that will ensure positive societal impact. It also intends to research the use of AI in sectors like healthcare and transportation, and offer resources such as educational material and forums to discuss the development of AI.
Of course, Partnership on AI is by no means a regulatory body and doesn’t have any power to control how the technology is developed and used around the world. The group told The Verge, “We’re really not here to serve those kinds of functions. We’re here to learn from one another about things that are working well and not working well, and to be open about the areas of work we’re struggling on.”
With AI being largely misunderstood, the organization certainly has its work cut out for it. It remains to be seen how much of an impact it can have on sectors that will use the technology. With research on AI on the rise (Fortune says that more than $7.5 billion has been invested into AI-focused startups since 2011), such efforts are indeed necessary to keep artificial intelligence from going off the rails.
Arjun is is a web developer/designer, who is fond of the web. He lives in Manipal, Karnataka, India.