Amazon announced it is teaming up with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund research to clarify how artificial intelligence software processes data and makes decisions, with each organization pledging up to $10 million over the next three years. The move comes as Amazon’s cloud unit, Amazon Web Services, is facing questions over the accuracy of its facial recognition software, and for reportedly selling it to law enforcement agencies. (Microsoft and Google have said they will hold off on selling facial recognition software until its accuracy improves).
As Amazon looks to extend its cloud computing dominance into the emerging market for cloud-based AI services, it needs to move quickly. But Amazon isn’t known as an AI research powerhouse, which means it may be playing catch-up to companies like Google, Microsoft, and IBM in the race to clarify how AI works and ensure that biases don’t creep into data.