Google, Facebook, and Microsoft are just some of the big tech companies that are trying to be the first ones in the race to get to a complete AI system, but you can never guess that by looking at them. Google Cloud's CEO, Sundar Pichai, recently spoke about the company's openness to give people access to machine learning, stating “We create open platforms and share our technology because it helps new ideas get out faster."
The fact that the company released TensorFlow - machine-learning software developed by Google with an open source code shows that it aspires to give access to its AI tools to the public. Since the release of TensorFlow in 2015, it has been downloaded more than 15 million times, showing the company's openness with its machine learning.
Taking a page from Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook have all made machine learning software available to the public, but are they are truly willing to forgo being the first ones to win the AI race? Considering the fact that AI patent applications are at an all-time high (at least 594 in 2016 in the US alone), the answer to that question is NO.
So why hand out machine learning software to the masses? The answer is most probably likely to be at the hands of bright young minds. By giving talented faculty and grad students access to machine learning developed by big tech researches, the largest companies will be able to recruit the ones that will thrust them forward. Those who will have access to new AI researchers are those will be able to finish the race first and claim one of the most significant modern-day patents.