Apple Set to Join Microsoft, Google, and Facebook in AI Research Group

Apple will take a significant step toward disclosing more of its artificial intelligence research this week by becoming a member of a non-profit AI research consortium founded by five of the tech industry's biggest players.

Last September, Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and IBM publicly announced The Partnership on AI, an organization established "to study and formulate best practices, to advance the public's understanding of AI, and to serve as an open platform for discussion and engagement about AI and its influences on people and society".

Partnership on AI
As one of the biggest researchers in AI, Apple's name was conspicuously absent, but that looks set to change in the coming days, following a Bloomberg report on Thursday that Cupertino is ready to add its name to The Partnership's list of corporate heavyweights.

According to its website, the Partnership on AI intends to conduct research, organize discussions, share insights, provide thought leadership, consult with relevant third parties, respond to questions from the public and media, and create educational material that advance the understanding of AI technologies including machine perception, learning, and automated reasoning.

Apple's imminent membership is just the latest indication that the company is prepared to reveal more of its work in areas of artificial intelligence. At an invitation-only AI conference held in Barcelona last month, where Apple employees discussed their work in various related fields, the company announced it would begin allowing its AI and machine learning researchers to publish and share their work in papers.

Two weeks later, the first paper was published, covering Apple's work on intelligent image recognition. Cupertino is also known to be working on a range of other AI projects, including health and vital signs, LiDAR, neural networks, intelligent assistant and language modeling, and activity recognition.

While the Partnership's founding members are committed to publishing a wide range of research under an open license, just how much of this work will be shared remains unclear, but we should know more soon. Apple is expected to announce its membership in the Partnership later this week.

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Top Rated Comments

Delgibbons Avatar
96 months ago
I like it when companies work for the common good.

I for one welcome our impending robot overlords.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
plexdk Avatar
96 months ago
That's one thing that would never have happened under Steve :P
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keysofanxiety Avatar
96 months ago
Smart move for Apple to follow the leaders under the guise of collaboration to steal their secret sauce.
Google and Microsoft's data mining is no secret. Personally I'd rather the 'assistant' on my phone was a little dumber if it meant the company considered my privacy paramount.

Apple will eventually get there; it'll just be a matter of time. They're taking a longer and more difficult route due to their staunch stance on privacy, which I'd argue would be more beneficial in the long run.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maflynn Avatar
96 months ago
Given how Siri is less capable then GoogleNow and Cortana, They're needing to work harder at this.

I mean Amazon caught them (and Google) flat footed with their home assistant, something that could have been a perfect fit for Apple.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keysofanxiety Avatar
96 months ago
You probably aren't using Siri, I guess? Any dumber..........
I use it to set timers/alarms when I'm cooking, call/text people while I'm driving, or ask it to open Maps and direct me somewhere. That's about it really and it seems to work fine on my older 5S.

Granted I don't use it for much more than that and I'm not doubting there are issues when you go above and beyond what little I do. However Siri does make my life easier for what I use it for. Personally I think the old girl gets a bad rap. She's not mindblowing but she's far from utterly useless either.

The only real issue that affects an otherwise content relationship is lack of offline functionality and poor performance when Wi-Fi or 4G isn't readily available.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avieshek Avatar
96 months ago
Samsung joining soon.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)