A bevy of tech giants including Google, Facebook and Microsoft have joined forces to study and formulate best practices around artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.
The collaboration, which also includes Amazon and IBM, is officially called the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society, and looks to advance understanding of AI technologies and their impact on society.
The partners will support related research and recommend best practices in ethics, transparency and privacy when it comes to AI studies, and aim to create an open platform where researchers and major players in the industry can communicate.
"We believe that AI technologies hold great promise for raising the quality of people's lives and can be leveraged to help humanity address important global challenges such as climate change, food, inequality, health and education," said the firms.
All five companies involved in the initiative have made waves in AI, some more successfully than others. Amazon has Alexa, the voice assistant loaded onto the firm's Echo speakers that started shipping in the UK on Wednesday, while Facebook has its ChatBots and Google and IBM have their successful DeepMind and Watson projects.
Microsoft, on the other hand, has its virtual nightmare Tay, which ran riot on Twitter with its chatter about smoking jazz cigarettes in front of the police. Of course, there's also Cortana whether you like it or not.
The coalition has some big names, but there's one key player missing: Apple. However, Microsoft's Eric Horvitz, who serves as one of the project's interim co-chairmen, told The Guardian that they've been in discussions with the fruity firm.
"I know they're enthusiastic about this effort, and I'd hope to see them join," he said.
Another missing name is Elon Musk's OpenAI, a non-profit AI research project that promises to make its results available to all.
Musk may well look to get involved, given his well-publicised fear that AI is akin to the devil and that humans may create forces that prove impossible to control.
Yeah, sorry about all that, simpers Zuckerberg
Vivaldi promotes DuckDuckGo search engine over Google over privacy concerns
Scientists say that strontium titanate could transform electronics
The wheels of justice grind surprisingly slowly