Apple reportedly close to joining Partnership on AI industry group to boost Siri, other tech
Apple could help further research efforts in the field of artificial intelligence in the future, with a report claiming it will be joining the Partnership on AI, a non-profit group that counts, Google, Facebook, other major tech companies in its membership.
While not part of the initial group of industry heavyweights to join the group, Bloomberg sources believe Apple could announce its admittance into the Partnership on AI as soon as this week. The group already consists of Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM, and Microsoft, and more major organizations are expected to join their ranks, along with Apple.
Established in September, the Partnership on AI organization was formed to "study and formulate best practices on AI technologies, 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."
During the research group's launch, it was revealed by Microsoft engineer and partnership co-chair Eric Horvitz that Apple had been involved in discussions about getting involved. "I know they're enthusiastic about this effort," said Horvitz, "and I'd personally hope to see them join."
Apple is famous for its corporate secrecy, keeping research efforts internal for the most part, and avoiding industry-guiding groups in general. For example, the Bluetooth SIG formed in 1998, but Apple joined much later as a lead-tier "promoting member" in 2015, despite using Bluetooth in its products for over a decade.
The veil of secrecy around its AI research has slowly lifted in recent times, with Apple researchers allowed to publish their findings and talk to other AI researchers since December. In the same month, Apple published its first AI research paper, concerning the use of computer vision.
Apple has invested steadily in artificial intelligence, including the acquisition and expansion of AI and machine learning firm Turi, with the results seen in Siri and the company's iOS and macOS apps. Research teams working for Apple are concentrating on a variety of fields, including health, image processing, language modeling, and event prediction.