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Apple Jumps In With Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Facebook With Organization Partnership on AI

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Apple has joined the Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society, and will work alongside other tech giants on artificial intelligence initiatives, the partnership announced Friday.

Apple previously worked with Partnership on AI, but Friday’s announcement makes the company’s membership official, as it joined as a founding member. Apple has not yet announced the partnership.

Partnership on AI, a nonprofit, was launched by Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM, and Microsoft in September 2016. The organization works to address “opportunities and challenges with AI technologies to benefit people and society.” Members’ roles are to conduct research, recommend best practices and publish findings (which might explain why six researchers from Apple recently published a research paper related to AI.)

Apple’s membership shows the company is committed to the AI race. It also could be a sign the company will soon reveal more of its work related to artificial intelligence. Among Apple’s AI work could be an enhanced version of Siri for its iPhone 8 launch, in response to the high popularity of other AI devices, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. In an effort to revamp Siri, Apple acquired Australian start-up Turi last August, which lets developers create apps with machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities.

New Board Members

Partnership on AI also announced six new board members. The individuals are Dario Amodei (OpenAI), Subbarao Kambhampati (Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence & ASU), Deirdre Mulligan (UC Berkeley), Carol Rose (American Civil Liberties Union), Eric Sears (MacArthur Foundation) and Jason Furman (Peterson Institute of International Economics).

The members will join those on the Board of Trustees, which includes Siri co-founder and CTO Tom Gruber, as well as Greg Corrado (Google/DeepMind), Ralf Herbrich (Amazon), Eric Horvitz (Microsoft), Yann Lecun (Facebook) and Francesca Rossi (IBM).

The first meeting for board members will be on Feb. 3 in San Francisco.

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