There is private research and public research, closed source and open source projects, and what these companies all choose to share to encourage advancement in AI research is up to each company. Some see their research as breakthroughs and a source of competitive advantage, while others see the open source community as a vehicle for developer relations. Open source research projects may serve to advance R&D, but they serve a secondary purpose of making great recruitment tools and make companies (like Google and Facebook) look like heroes in the development community.
Apple: Don’t discount Apple just because it’s a closed-source culture. Apple has some of the best engineers in the world, and millions of devices in the hands of consumers and given their turbulent history early on with Microsoft and later on with Google and Samsung, they are very secretive and protective of their intellectual property, and rightfully so. Every tech company in the world aspires to be Apple.
Facebook: Consider for a minute how many DAU’s Facebook has and the amount of data it manages. It’s the world’s source for news. The largest photo archive in the world by a country mile (between FB and Instagram), and they have more than 2 billion users messaging on it’s platform between Messenger and What’s App.
Google: Google has years of AI research, even from search alone and understand human intent better than anyone. They have contributed a fair amount of it’s AI research projects like TensorFlow back into the open source world too.
Microsoft: Microsoft has re-invented itself with it’s AI research and projects. AI has literally made Microsoft a leading player in AI and has demanded newfound respect from the developer community, especially in North American markets.
IBM: I feel the same way about IBM as I do with Microsoft. Projects like Watson have made IBM a major player in the advancement of AI.
Amazon: Amazon is on a trajectory to become the largest company in the world as it gradually dominates every industry it enters. They are the masters of logistics and dominate e-commerce. Alexa will be as common in the home as a refrigerator at some point and it’s intelligence will be powered by a massive amount of data.