What Amazon (AMZN), IBM And Facebook AI Partnership Is About

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and other tech giants including International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) recently announced a partnership focused on artificial intelligence (AI). Other members of the partnership are Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT).

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The AI partnership that Amazon and its partners have come up with has been fashioned as a nonprofit. The nonprofit’s board will consist of 10 members, some being representatives of the constituent companies and others drawn from the nonprofit and academia world.

Public understanding of AI

The main reason behind the AI partnership may be to calm fears about the effects of AI technology on society. Interest in and adoption of AI has surged in recent years and so has public concern and outcry over its possible dangers.

As such, the partnership that Amazon and its tech peers have crafted will conduct research on AI issues and then recommend the best practices as they relate to adoption and deployment of AI. As such, the partnership is expected to iron out concerns relating to ethics, interoperability and inclusivity of AI technologies.

But there is one area that the AI partnership will not go into: policy lobbying. In a statement announcing the launch of the AI partnership, the members clearly stated that the partnership will not be involved in lobbying policymakers to try to influence regulation of the AI industry. Instead, the partnership will concern itself with ensuring that the public understands what AI is about and that AI products address real life issues without causing fear in the hearts of the people.

“We’re in a golden age of machine learning and AI,” said Amazon’s head of machine learning Ralf Herbrich.

Room for more partners

Though Amazon, Facebook, IBM, Alphabet and Microsoft are the founders of the AI partnership, they expect other corporate participants to join in at some point in the future. Alphabet’s Google said its representative on the board of the AI partnership will come from its AI arm called DeepMind, which is based on London.

The AI partnership of Amazon and tech peers comes at a time when venture capitalists and other investors seem to be throwing increasing amounts of money at startups working on AI projects. AI startup funding surpassed $1 billion in the last quarter, hitting an all-time high.

Amazon stock rose 1.55% in the last session, while Microsoft advanced 0.14%. IBM gained 0.97%, while Alphabet retreated 0.08%. Facebook gained 0.42%.

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