Enlarge / In the movie Her, a man falls in love with a commercially available AI. Maybe it was developed at the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab? (credit: Annapurna Pictures)
In one of the most lucrative partnerships ever between a corporation and a university, IBM will team up with MIT to engage in 10 years of “fundamental AI research.” The $240 million deal will go toward the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, a mix of IBM researchers and 100 MIT academics working at the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The goal, said IBM reps, is to “advance AI hardware, software, and algorithms related to deep learning and other areas, increase AI’s impact on industries, such as health care and cybersecurity, and explore the economic and ethical implications of AI on society.”
Working from offices in Kendall Square—a neighborhood that’s become an incubator for many hybrid academic/corporate startups—researchers at the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab will be focused on basic research with an eye toward commercializing what they discover.
IBM wants to “encourage MIT faculty and students to launch companies that will focus on commercializing AI.”
MIT has had a number of these academic/corporate partnerships over the years. Perhaps most famously, the MIT Media Lab has contributed to countless successful products, and tech companies can pay to outsource their research and development to Media Lab groups.
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