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Apple Joins Amazon, Google, Facebook in 'Partnership on AI'

Tyrone Stewart

Partnership on AIApple has joined the likes of Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft as part of the Partnership on AI – as it looks to open up more and further its efforts in the field of AI. Following speculation, initially reported by Bloomberg, the group has confirmed that the tech giant has joined as a founding member.

As a result, Tom Gruber – Siri founder and Apple executive – has named to the board of trustees. He joins Greg Corrado (Google’s director of AI research), Ralf Herbrich (Amazon’s development centre managing director), Eric Horvitz (Microsoft technical fellow and director), Yann Lecun (Facebook’s director of AI research), and Francesca Rossi (IBM research scientist). The board’s first meeting is set to take place on 3 February.

“This is a pivotal moment for the Partnership on AI, as we establish a diverse and balanced board of trustees that extends and broadens our existing leadership,” the Partnership said. “The inclusion of varying perspectives and continuous, critical reflection has been a core commitment from the start, and we will continue to add new voices as we progress.

“The board of trustees will provide direction and oversee the general activities of the Partnership on AI. An executive steering committee will guide, commission, and evaluate activities within the overall objectives and scope set by the board. An executive director, appointed by the board, will oversee the day-to-day operation of the organisation.”

Apple was one of the notable exceptions from the group when it formed but has been working hard to build up its AI capabilities and show less of its famous secrecy in doing so. The company has bought several small AI startups and, in October, poached a number of senior figures from Imagination Technologies – the firm behind the graphics processors in its phones.

The Partnership on AI, established in September 2016, aims to “study and formulate best practices on AI technologies, to advance the public’s understanding of AI, and serve as an open platform for discussion and engagement about AI and its influences on people and society.”