Briefing: International AI ethics organization admits Baidu as first Chinese member

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Baidu becomes first Chinese firm to join US-based group that addresses the ethics of AI – SCMP

What happened: Search giant Baidu has become the first Chinese company to join a consortium of international firms that studies the impacts of and formulates best practices for AI. Dubbed Partnership on AI (PAI), the group has over 70 members worldwide after being established in 2016. Formed by Amazon, Facebook, IBM, Microsoft, and Alphabet’s Google and DeepMind,  PAI group aims to help the public understand artificial intelligence technologies.

Why it’s important: There has been much speculation about the possible adverse effects of AI. However, the PAI credited Baidu with “vigorously promoting the development of AI technology”, while initiating programs “aimed at limiting AI’s unintended consequences”. The company is currently pursuing its AI ambitions through its open source autonomous driving platform Apollo and AI operating system DuerOS, among others. Admitting its first Chinese member is an essential step for an organization such as PAI. The country’s artificial intelligence industry has attracted most of the world’s funding, totaling 60%of all global investment from 2013 to the beginning of 2018.