You know how sitcom characters often pair up, keep their relationship secret, then reveal its existence to a close friend who immediately says everyone knew all along? Well, that's kind of how we felt when Intel announced that it joined Partnership on AI, an organization devoted to exploring how artificial intelligence can "benefit people and society." Anyone who didn't expect Intel to join a group like this simply hasn't been paying attention.
Just look at some of the most recent stories in its newsroom: "Intel Presents Autonomous Driving Workshop," "Microsoft Outlines Hardware Architecture for Deep Learning on Intel FPGAs," "Intel Unveils Latest Autonomous Driving Lab in Silicon Valley"... the list goes on. Intel has made it quite clear that it wants its processors and other components to provide the sheer computing power other companies need to build their AI software.
Not that Intel's the only processor company hoping for a slice of the AI pie. (PAI? Sorry.) Nvidia recently announced its next-gen Volta architecture with a Tesla V100 chip made specifically for machine learning performance, Google created its own Tensor Processing Unit, and AMD created the Radeon Instinct product line to get in on the action. Basically any company that's ever thought about making a processor is looking into AI.
One of those companies--Google--is also a founding partner of the Partnership on AI. Other partners include Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and more. It makes sense for Intel to join forces with the group; doing so could help it find out exactly what people want from AI. This would help it compete with the likes of Nvidia, with which it's had just a bit of friendly competition, while strengthening its ties with the AI community.
Here's what Intel said about its joining the Partnership on AI:
[Dr. Yinyin Liu] and the broader data science team have been working with the AIPG data science team applying advanced deep learning methods such as natural language processing and computer vision to solve AI problems, helping customers to build solutions across numerous vertical industries.As Intel has successfully done in previous waves of computational trends including personal and cloud computing, the company is rallying the industry around a set of standards for AI that promise to ultimately bring down costs and make AI more accessible to more people.
The company will help the Partnership on AI realize its plan to "develop and share best practices," "advance public understanding," "provide an open and inclusive platform for discussion and engagement," and "identify and foster aspirational efforts in AI for socially beneficial purposes." You can learn more about the organization's plans for AI, its work, and its partners on the Partnership on AI website.
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Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.