Apple joins Amazon, Google and Facebook in AI research group. The company is now a founding member of the Partnership on AI.

Apple published its first paper on AI and now the big tech company is set to join five others in a newly-formed research group. The Partnership on AI members includes Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM, Microsoft and now Apple. First formed last September, the group will be supporting research, establishing ethical guidelines and promoting both transparency and privacy for AI.

The Partnership on AI explained that Apple has already been working with the group before it was made official, but now the company is a full member alongside those other tech titans. The group has also selected its board of trustees that will oversee the enterprise. In addition to each member company having a seat on the board, the Partnership on AI also included six independent members from artificial intelligence organisations, universities and the ACLU. The board is scheduled to meet for the first in early February and we expect to hear more details shortly after.

Back in 2011, we saw the introduction of Siri, the virtual assistant. This gave Apple an early presence in AI for consumers, however, it seems to have lost its way to rivals such as Google and Amazon. Apple’s fondness for privacy limited its efforts to improve AI assistances and hire the best talent. This is due to researchers in the field who publish their findings, something Apple was not fond on in the past. This approach began to change late last year with the hiring of Carnegie Mellon Professor Russ Salakhutdinov and the publishing of its first public AI paper.

In the AI paper, Apple’s contribution to the AI research community describes a technique for improving the training of an algorithm’s ability to recognise images using computer-generated images rather than real-world images.