Partnership on AI Strengthens Its Network of Partners and Announces First Initiatives

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Since we came together to form the Partnership on AI to Benefit People and Society (Partnership on AI), we have been uplifted by support from around the world, with enthusiasm about our mission, tenets, and goals coming from companies, nonprofits, and academics alike.

Earlier this year we welcomed Apple and six nonprofit board members to serve on our Board of Directors, the group that oversees the Partnership on AI. These additions created a balanced board of representatives from companies and independent sectors, including nonprofits, NGOs, and academia. In the months since, we have worked to continue to build a diverse, multi-stakeholder organization for open and constructive dialogue on AI. We have received great support in these efforts and, today, are excited to share several updates.

First, twenty-two new organizations will be joining the Partnership on AI, with more to come in the future. These new organizations and their named representatives will support and work with the Partnership’s Board of Directors to define and drive forward a shared vision.

The eight new for-profit Partners are eBay, Intel, McKinsey & Company, Salesforce, SAP, Sony, and Zalando, along with start-up Cogitai.

The fourteen non-profit Partners we welcome today are the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, AI Forum of New Zealand, Center for Democracy & Technology, Centre for Internet and Society – India, Data & Society Research Institute, Digital Asia Hub, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Future of Humanity Institute, Future of Privacy Forum, Human Rights Watch, Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, UNICEF, Upturn, and the XPRIZE Foundation.

Together with the founding companies and our existing non-profit Partners (AAAI, ACLU, and OpenAI), these new Partners strengthen and broaden our representation, helping to fulfil our goal to build a diverse, balanced, and global set of perspectives on AI.

Representatives of these new organizations include Dr. Hiroaki Kitano, who, as head of Sony Computer Science Laboratories, has been a world expert in AI robotics and a long-term thought-leader on human-AI collaboration, one of the thematic pillars of the Partnership on AI. Another new collaborator is Chris Fabian who works in UNICEF’s Office of Innovation, leading its Ventures team, a group of technologists who apply machine learning, data science, and AI to societal problems, in line with the thematic pillar on AI and social good. Chris and his team developed UNICEF’s Magic Box platform, which allows collaborators like IBM, Google, Amadeus, and Telefonica to pool data and develop models for real-time decision-making in emergencies. They are joined by Salesforce’s Chief Scientist Dr. Richard Socher, Intel’s Dr. Yinyin Liu, and SAP’s Dr. Markus Noga, all of whom have led efforts to apply machine learning to complex business problems in their respective companies. Other representatives include Malavika Jayaram, who leads Digital Asia Hub, working collaboratively with others to understand how the implementation and impact of AI might be different in Asia, and Dr. Stephen Cave, who leads the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, an organization dedicated to investigating the profound impact that many expect AI will have on the world.

Secondly, working with these new Partners, we plan to launch a set of activities around the challenges and opportunities described in our core Thematic Pillars. In a recent two-day retreat for the Board of Directors in Chicago, we discussed activities and programs for PAI – and excitingly, decided to move forward on a set of initiatives. These include: topic-specific and sector-specific Working Groups to research and formulate best practices; the creation of a Civil Society Fellowship program aimed at assisting people at non-profits and NGOs who wish to collaborate on topics in AI and society; the formation of a cross-conference “AI, People, and Society” Best-Paper Award; and the start of an AI Grand Challenges series to stimulate aspirational efforts in harnessing AI to address some of the most pressing long-term social and societal issues. More information about these initiatives will be available soon, and we will work together with our Partners and others to shape them.

Beyond the board members, the retreat also welcomed several external guests – McKinsey & Company senior partner and director of the McKinsey Global Institute James Manyika, award-winning investigative journalist Julia Angwin, and Harvard University economist Sendhil Mullainathan. They provided valuable insights and we enjoyed their thoughtful and engaging perspectives. We look forward to welcoming other external voices to our forums later in the year.

Finally, we are in the process of identifying an Executive Director for the Partnership who will oversee the day-to-day operation of the organization. We look forward to welcoming them in due course.

The Partnership is very grateful for the support and interest we have received so far and invite others to participate in our efforts. If you are interested in becoming a Partner, or participating in other ways, please contact us.


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