Google is seeking to set the standard on artificial intelligence. The Internet company wants to influence how people design, test and run artificial-intelligence systems, and it has therefore made its internal AI development software available for free.


Google aims to make AI more standard

On Monday, Google revealed plans to release a program called TensorFlow as freely available open-source software. The internet firm has spent years on the development of an internal system to support its AI software and other mathematically complex programs, and TensorFlow is based on this only.

“What we’re hoping is that the community adopts this as a good way of expressing machine learning algorithms of lots of different types, and also contributes to building and improving [TensorFlow] in lots of different and interesting ways,” said a Google engineer.

With the release of TensorFlow’s it will be possible for anyone to download and modify the development software that underpins RankBrain, which supports AI in Google’s search engine and new features such as its Smart Reply e-mail tool, Google said in a blog post.

Products such as personal assistants, including Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana, are based on artificial intelligence only. AI also helps Facebook and Google’s software to automatically identify and tag the contents of images uploaded into their systems.

Creating new product categories also becomes possible because of AI. Such products range from Tesla and Google self-driving cars to new forms of entertainment that Facebook is developing for its VR system Oculus.

Tech giants trying to boost AI development

Not just Google, but other tech giants ranging from Facebook to Microsoft are all working on AI development, and they are staffing up research labs, publishing academic research papers, giving presentations at conferences and even delivering lectures as guests at universities.

These tech firms are confident that by being open they will be able to attract talented academics to work for them along with encouraging the wider community to work on new AI technologies. Some companies that have been more secretive in the past are now seeking to be more open including Apple and Amazon.

Some of the tech firms are also trying to provide guidance for AI development. Google’s DeepMind subsidiary, AMD, Intel and others make use of Torch, an AI development tool for which Facebook released the code for free. On Friday, Twitter announced its first contribution to Torch. Also, Microsoft has published numerous AI programs and datasets as freely available open source.