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IBM (IBM), Meta Platforms (META) Are AI's Good Guys

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In a Tuesday morning news release, International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and Meta Platforms Inc. (NASDAQ: META) announced the formation of the AI Alliance. The group of more than 40 organizations from industry to academia intends “to support open innovation and open science in AI.”

Who’s in and who’s not

Among the other members of the alliance are Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (NASDAQ: AMD), Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC), Oracle Corp. (NYSE: ORCL), and Sony Group Corp. (NYSE: SONY).

Not included among the announced members are OpenAI, Anthropic, Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT), Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), or Nvidia Corp. (NASDAQ: NVDA).

Notice a pattern here? None of the acknowledged leaders in AI development are members of the AI Alliance. Did they refuse to join or were they not even invited?

In its announcement, this is how the alliance described itself:

The AI Alliance is focused on fostering an open community and enabling developers and researchers to accelerate responsible innovation in AI while ensuring scientific rigor, trust, safety, security, diversity and economic competitiveness.

Are we to infer that companies not in the group oppose scientific rigor, trust, and all those other things the AI Alliance supports? The words “responsible” and “responsibility” appear 27 times in the announcement, including at the end of the title, where it does the heavy lifting, separating the white hats from the black hats.

A 6-point program

The AI Alliance aims to begin or boost projects that meet six objectives:

  • “Develop and develop benchmarks and evaluation standards” that “enable responsible development” of AI systems.
  • “Responsibly advance the ecosystem of open foundation models.”
  • “Foster a vibrant AI hardware accelerator ecosystem.”
  • “Support global AI skills building and exploratory research.”
  • “Develop educational content and resources to inform the public discourse and policymakers.”
  • “Launch initiatives that encourage open development of AI in safe and beneficial ways.”

The group will form “member-driven working groups” in each of these project areas and “also establish a governing board and technical oversight committee dedicated to advancing the above project areas, as well as establishing overall project standards and guidelines.”

Comments from AI Alliance members

Arvind Krishna, IBM’s board chair and CEO:

IBM is proud to partner with like-minded organizations through the AI Alliance to ensure this open ecosystem drives an innovative AI agenda underpinned by safety, accountability and scientific rigor.

Nick Clegg, President, Global Affairs of Meta:

We believe it’s better when AI is developed openly – more people can access the benefits, build innovative products and work on safety. … We’re looking forward to working with partners to advance the state-of-the-art in AI and help everyone build responsibly.

Lisa Su, AMD CEO and Chair:

… The history of our industry highlights how open, standards-based development leveraging the capabilities of the entire industry both accelerate innovation and ensure technology advances have the largest positive impact. By embracing open standards and transparency across all aspects of the rapidly developing AI ecosystem, we can help ensure the transformational benefits of responsible AI are broadly available.

Krystyn J Van Vliet, Vice President for Research and Innovation at Cornell University

Cornell looks forward … to contributing to the discussions, technologies, and advances that will help the world develop knowledge and tools using AI, as well as a shared sense of responsibility for positive impact on society.

The message is clear: Members of the AI Alliance stand for open standards and responsible AI development. What about the rest of you?

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