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Apple joins non-profit AI research group – partners with other major tech firms

Apple has joined the likes of Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft as a founding member of non-project organization Partnership on AI.

It’s actually not the first involvement Apple has had – it’s been involved since its launch last year, but it’s only just made it official.

Partnership on AI is intended to “conduct research, recommend best AI practices and publish research under an open language,” the organization has said.

Decisions and approach will be decided on by a board of trustees, each member of which has equal voting rights. Representing Apple is Tom Gruber, who works in product design but was one of the original founders of Siri before Apple acquired the technology.

It’s an interesting move for Apple, which is often secretive about its approach. But after Siri was opened up to third-party apps in iOS 10, many saw this as a sign of Apple becoming more open. In fact, Apple published its first research paper into artificial intelligence in December 2016. It looked at techniques for improving the training of an algorithm and its ability to recognize objects on images.

Previously, it was believed that Apple’s prevention of its AI experts from publishing research was hindering Apple’s progress in the area.

However, with so many competitors joining the race for better AI, Apple has clearly recognized the importance of being involved at such a granular level.

For further reading, it’s worth checking out this Bloomberg report which views this as a sign of Apple opening up and becoming less secretive.