Facing an increasingly heated rivalry between the United States and China, US tech giant Microsoft has partnered with Chinese search engine giant ByteDance to develop artificial intelligence (AI) that will be used to power the next generation of Windows 10 devices and services. The move seems to have confirmed recent rumors that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had been courting ByteDance founder and CEO Zhang Yiming in an effort to cut China out of the loop as companies on both sides of the Pacific scramble to build out AI services and products.
Domestic legislators are getting 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 supremacy in the sector. In fact, several AI scientists contend that international cooperation is essential for maximising the benefits of technological developments.
Jiaxin Shan, a software engineer for ByteDance, and Ali Kanso, a lead 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 technological foundations of KubeRay and promoted the programme as useful for distributed computing, the process of running AI applications over several computers.
With a Ph.D. in computer science, Kanso stated, “Jiaxin and I have been working on an open source project for almost a year. This is the beauty of a community meeting like this.” “We don’t work for the same firm, yet we meet and work together every week.”
According to his LinkedIn page, Shan is situated in the Seattle region, close to Microsoft’s headquarters. He formerly 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 companies, businesses frequently collaborate and pool their engineering talents. 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 can 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, like Google in the past, keeps an AI research facility in China, which enables them to take use of the academic talent there.
While this has been happening, ByteDance has been actively participating in a number of open source AI initiatives. For instance, ByteDance introduced their NeurST software toolkit for voice translation driven by AI in 2020. Additionally, the business introduced its CloudWeGo open source corporate software last year.
Anyscale, a software start-up whose technology is based on Ray, organised 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 lengthy experience in open source software and co-founded Databricks, a business that specialises in data analytics and was recently valued at $38 billion.
On top of Apache Spark, which Stoica oversaw the development of at Berkeley, came Databricks. Anyscale, which is attempting to take a similar course, announced this week that it had just received an additional $99 million.
Open source initiatives are frequently used by major behemoths like Microsoft and Meta to spread their own internal technology concepts to the general public. By doing this, businesses may entice new hires and promote their status as industry experts 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 alleged security concerns, Microsoft made an acquisition bid for ByteDance’s TikTok in 2020. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella referred to the failed transaction as “the oddest thing” he had ever worked on a year later.