Even As The US-China Rivalry Intensifies, Microsoft And ByteDance Are Working Together On A Significant AI Project

Lawmakers in The United States are growing more worried about the potential effects of losing the high-stakes competition between the U.S. and China for leadership in artificial intelligence on national security, the economy, and American prosperity.

However, there is also cooperation in motion as the two biggest economies in the world invest resources in the competition for dominance in the sector. In fact, some AI experts contend that international cooperation is essential for maximizing the benefits of technological advancements.

To advance that idea, engineers from Microsoft and ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok in China, are contributing. They are collaborating on software under the name KubeRay to help businesses run AI applications more effectively.

Jiaxin Shan, a software engineer for ByteDance, and Ali Kanso, a principal software engineer at Microsoft, spoke about their advancements with data scientists, machine learning specialists, and other developers at the Ray Summit this week in San Francisco.

Shan and Kanso outlined the technical foundations of KubeRay and promoted the program as useful for distributed computing, the process of running AI applications across multiple computers.

“Jiaxin and I have been working for like a year on an open source project and this is the beauty of a community gathering like this,” said Kanso, who has a Ph.D. in computer science. “We’re not in the same company, but we meet every week, we collaborate every week.”

According to his LinkedIn profile, Shan is based in the Seattle region, close to Microsoft’s headquarters. He previously worked as a software engineer at Amazon Web Services.

To contribute to open source projects, which have grown in popularity recently and provided the foundation for many startups, businesses frequently collaborate and pool their engineering resources. The Microsoft-ByteDance partnership is noteworthy in light of the developing competition between the United States and China over AI and intellectual property as well as worries about how emerging technologies might be abused for surveillance and privacy invasion.

Along with rivals like Apple, Alphabet, Facebook parent Meta, Google parent Alphabet, and Amazon, Microsoft has been making significant investments in AI. Microsoft maintains an AI research lab in China, much like Google once did, to help it take advantage of the nation’s academic talent.

While this has been happening, ByteDance has been actively participating in a number of open source AI projects. For instance, ByteDance debuted its NeurST software toolkit for speech translation powered by AI in 2020. Additionally, the business introduced its CloudWeGo open source enterprise software last year.

Anyscale, a software start-up whose technology is based on Ray, organized the Ray Summit. Ion Stoica, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, was one of the engineers who helped co-found Anyscale, which also made contributions to KubeRay. Stoica has a long history in open source software and co-founded Databricks, a business that specializes in data analytics and was recently valued at $38 billion.

On top of Apache Spark, which Stoica oversaw the development of at Berkeley, was Databricks. Anyscale, which is attempting to take a similar course, announced this week that it has just raised an additional $99 million.

Open source initiatives are frequently used by tech behemoths like Microsoft and Meta to spread their own internal technological concepts to the general public. By doing this, businesses can entice potential hires and promote their status as industry leaders to developers.

There is some history in the partnership between Microsoft and ByteDance. At a time when then-President Donald Trump threatened to outlaw the social media app for unspecified security reasons in 2020, Microsoft made an acquisition offer to ByteDance for TikTok.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella referred to the failed transaction as “the strangest thing” he had ever worked on a year later.

(Adapted from CNBC.com)

Categories: Creativity, Economy & Finance, Entrepreneurship, Geopolitics, Regulations & Legal, Strategy, Sustainability

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