Apple formally joined the Partnership on AI on January 27, 2017, after collaborating on the project since its beginning in September of 2016. Working together with Facebook, Amazon, IBM, Google/DeepMind, and Microsoft, the purpose of the Partnership on AI to benefit people and society is to establish best practices and to educate the public. By sharing insights from leadership on the forefront of AI development, the Partnership ensures an exchange of diverse ideas.
Board Choices and Diversity
As the name of the Partnership on AI to benefit people and society suggests, this group was formed for the purpose of anticipating and guiding the AI sector so that the many benefits are available to all people and to society at large. Careful consideration was given to selecting members of the board that could bring different viewpoints to the table, representing the interests of the many, instead of the few. For this reason, a diverse committee was chosen.
CTO Tom Gruber represents Apple. He is well known as Siri co-founder and will join other company representatives from the technology companies mentioned above as well as six individual board members with acclaimed achievements in the AI arena.
Affiliates from outside of the technology sector, Carol Rose from the American Civil Liberties Union and Eric Sears of MacArthur Foundation bring a fresh perspective to the board from non-profit and charitable organizations, joining Deidre Mulligan of UC Berkeley and Jason Furman of Peterson Institute of International Economics from academic circles. Finally, the last two individuals to round up this distinguished group are Dario Amodei from OpenAI and Subbarao Kambhampati from the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence & ASU.
The first meeting is scheduled for February 3, 2017. The Partnership on AI to benefit people and society has left its options open for exactly how the study will proceed. Research papers are expected to be presented for discussion.
Meeting Organizational Goals
The “how” of any discussion about recommended necessary actions for meeting goals is always of critical importance. A first priority for meeting the goals of this Partnership designed to benefit society is to determine the societal impact caused by AI systems as a first step for developing best practices. Considering there are a variety of AI applications relevant for different sectors, specific working groups will be created to address the unique needs of each sector.
Conducting research specific to a particular industry is necessary for gathering and analyzing potential challenges and benefits afforded by AI technology. Two of the industries where AI technology is making enormous positive strides are healthcare and transportation.
A board of trustees will establish and oversee Partnership activities. An Executive Steering Committee is charged with evaluating the effectiveness of activities as they relate to Partnership objectives. Working closely with the board of directors, an executive director will manage daily operations. One of the accepted principles of the Partnership is that all work is shared with the public to encourage participation in the process. Planned and accepted information gathering and outreach initiatives include conferences, panels, meetings, and projects.
It was no surprise that Apple formally joined other leaders in the development of AI technology as a key player in the Partnership on AI to benefit people and society. The first meeting is scheduled for February 3, 2017. As AI industry titans come together with leaders in academia, law, and the not-for-profit sector, a major challenge will be to balance the many needs of a society hungry for the solutions AI promises.
While the project seems to be focused on benefitting humankind, there are other prominent voices from within the technological and scientific communities that have expressed their fear of the consequences of artificial intelligence.
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