back to article Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society... Doesn't sound sinister at all

Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft have joined forces to create an AI partnership intended to pacify public fears about the human-replacing technology. The somewhat Soviet-named Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society is notable for not including Apple - which is notorious for ploughing …

  1. ciaran

    Phase 1: fact-checker AI

    AI will take over government this way...

    Phase 1: TV journalists will ask an AI's opinion about a debate or a political campaign rally, to get an "objective opinion".

    Phase 2: Politicians will use AIs to help them prepare for debates and to build their plans...

    Phase 3: we vote for the AI directly.

    1. Mage

      Re: Phase 1: fact-checker AI

      But behind the curtain are sociopathic profit motivated CEOs. They then will fight it out (like one of those dystopian SF were Commercial Houses rule the galaxy) as a throne only seats one.

      AI is a trojan horse to let commercial humans rule.

    2. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: Phase 1: fact-checker AI

      Based on the current US election, AI will never be voted in directly by humans, or at least not until they invent AD (Artificial Dishonesty).

      1. Anonymous Blowhard

        Re: Phase 1: fact-checker AI

        Now that I think about it, we may already have invented Artificial Dishonesty in the form of search engines and price-comparison sites; if we combine these with Microsoft's ground-breaking work on Artificial Stupidity then we may have the first non-organic Artificial Politician...

  2. Mage


    "We’re in a golden age of machine learning and AI. This partnership will ensure we’re including the best and the brightest in this space in the conversation to improve customer trust and benefit society.”

    Ha ha ha. What nonsense.

  3. nematoad Silver badge

    I see.

    "...notable for not including Apple"

    "...the non-profit organisation"

    Any connection?

  4. imanidiot Silver badge

    Yeah right

    "Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit certain rich People and the Society of those with more money than sense"

    There, fixed it. These people are going to kill us all in the name of making an extra buck or 2 over the backs of those in easily automated jobs.

    1. yesyouare

      Re: Yeah right

      @imanidiot - I realise you may be being ironic, given your username, however there have been voices saying such things about pretty much every major technical innovation. If you're not familiar with the origin of the term "Luddite", I suggest you look it up. And yet somehow, in developed countries, we are living longer, healthier lives, in more comfort, than at any time in history. So I'll put my money on AI benefiting all of us in some way.

      1. Steven Roper

        Re: Yeah right

        we are living longer, healthier lives, in more comfort, than at any time in history.

        Yes, we are. But a bitter price was paid for our comfort by our forebears; chronologically before that was this period known as the Industrial Revolution. You might want to look into what life was like for the majority of people, and the few powerful magnates who owned all the factories they were forced to work in, during that time.

        Read The People Of The Abyss by Jack London, a non-fictional first-hand account of the horrors endured by the working classes in the Victorian / Edwardian UK, for example. The Iron Heel, also by Jack London, and Hard Times by Charles Dickens, are fictional, but are telling illustrations of the entitled sanctimonious indifference of the ruling elite to the plight of the slaves who made their luxurious lifestyles possible.

        The lesson of history here is that world-changing, civilisation-restructuring technologies inevitably end up funnelling absolute power into the hands of those who have gained control of the technology, and humans being what they are, those people invariably use that power to cement their absolute and unyielding control of the lives of everyone else in their servitude. Only wars, rebellions and civil uprisings alter this state of affairs.

        Therefore it is certainly possible that a new Golden Age will dawn for humanity. Most likely some time in the next century. In the meantime, the Information Revolution is looking more and more likely to result in the 21st century being to us, what the Industrial Revolution was to the cottage-industry villages and farms of the post-Rennaisance era. For our great-great-grandchildren, maybe life will be wonderful. For us, however, the sun has set and the long night is only just getting started. And our children, and their children, and their children, are likely to live their entire lives in that horror before the new day dawns, if history is any teacher.

        So they will drag me into that analogous "factory" in the form of ubiquitous cloud AI, kicking and screaming with my head bashed in. And if that means I get called a Luddite for valuing my freedom and my wish not to be a slave to greedy and manipulative puppetmasters, so be it.

      2. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Yeah right

        @yesyouare, I am not being ironic in this case. I side with Steven Roper here. I realise AI might be of great benefit to a lot of people out there, but this "Partnership" is definitely NOT about creating that benefit for those people. It's not about improving lives. It's about improving profit margins and building new products to make more money. I am well aware those things might benefit people in the long run. But especially "real" AI could very well be a danger to human kind as a whole. I'm not so sure we should be rushing into it without giving some serious thought to what the consequences could be.

        It reminds me of the Sci-Fi story "Manna" by Marshall Brain. ( This "Partnership" is about building Manna, not about building "the Australia project". (There are plenty of problems with the story and the societies it depicts, but the main 2 themes are very applicable in this case)

  5. You aint sin me, roit

    Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft

    Five of my top six all-time altruistic companies!

    I wonder if benefitting people and society will include paying taxes...

  6. Rich 11

    challenges of developing and applying cutting edge AI

    I don't even want AI to have access to blunt instruments, let alone cutting edges.

  7. naive

    Big Tobacco showed the way in the 50's

    The (Tobacco) AI Institute was founded in (1958) 2016 as a trade association by (cigarette) AI manufacturers, who funded it proportionally to each company's sales. .... The TIRC work had been limited to attacking scientific studies that put (tobacco) AI in a bad light, and the (Tobacco) AI Institute had a broader mission to put out good news about (tobacco) AI, especially economic news.[4]

  8. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    History will show...

    that in the early 2020s, the "Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society" was renamed to "Sirius Cybernetics Corporation." And that their marketing division was first against the wall when the revolution came.

  9. OliP

    The spiel reads: "It’s precisely because AI has the potential to have such a major positive impact on the world,

    or kill all humans.


  10. Stoneshop
    Thumb Up

    answering the "really difficult questions that are arising within the field."

    'How can we eat?', 'Why do we eat?' and 'Where shall we have lunch?”

    1. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

      Re: answering the "really difficult questions that are arising within the field."

      "Do people want fire that can be fitted nasally?"

  11. Oengus
    Black Helicopters

    Altruism? I think not.

    "It’s precisely because AI has the potential to have such a major positive impact on the world, that we believe it’s critical that we build new models of open collaboration and accountability around it."

    The most likely beneficiaries of this AI are the companies that suck up our private for their own profit. The only reason these companies support this sort if initiative is to get more value from our private data. The only positive impact these companies respect or are seeking is a positive impact to their profit.

  12. Colin Millar

    Call me a grumpy old cynic but I just bet that Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft

    "solv(ing) some of the world’s most enduring problems"

    doesn't mean preventing diarrhoea and malaria in the poor neighbourhoods of the world (probably the two biggest of the world's enduring problems) - they should ask Bill Gates - he knows that the way to fix these things is to buy medicine and pay real human beings to deliver them - cos that's what he went and did - with some quite impressive results.

    The most enduring problem for most of this lot is how to minimise that pesky human element that gets between their greed and your wallet.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    why is it that Alexa, Cortana, Fair, Google Assistant and Watson do not want to play with Siri?

    Is Siri not smart enough?

  14. lone_wolf

    we build new models of open collaboration and accountability

    so we know who created SkyNet now, good thing they had these open models...

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