Many regard artificial intelligence as a concept of the future, but it already plays a significant tole in society. Artificial intelligence includes the automated voice that answers the customer service line, Siri and other personal assistants, and GPS devices. The artificial intelligence field has grown rapidly over the course of the past ten years and with this growth comes an increased need to establish an ethical standard for the industry. Facebook, IBM, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have joined together to do just that. Their alliance, the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society, has tasked itself with the goal of ensuring the trustworthiness of artificial intelligence. This technology should help rather than hurt and the alliance is committed to researching ethnical technologies, making artificial intelligence reliable and secure, and eliminating the misconceptions about the field. In a September interview with NPR, Grurduth Banavar, IBM’s Vie President of Cognitive Computing, said the group had been discussing the formation of such an alliance for several years. Banavar says the group plans to have open discussions, publish their findings, and potentially sponsor research projects on specific issues that the group deems pertinent.
Apple is currently not part of the partnership, but it is rumored that the company will be joining its fellow tech giants in the future. NPR’s article released on September 26, 2016 supposed this suggestion, however, Business Insider published a story on September 28 that state Apple refused to join the Partnership. Apple did not comment on either story, but their absence from the partnership does raise questions. The first of which being why wouldn’t Apple want to join. Apple is generally regarded as a secretive company, and the Partnership could require a certain level of information sharing. The Partnership also pledges to follow a universal set of guidelines. Apple may no want to be bound by these standards. The Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society is just now beginning its work so it is difficult to say if Apple’s absence will have a negative impact on the efforts of these five tech giants, however it will be interesting to track their work in the future.