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I did a little bit of research on the most famous organizations and institutions that promote friendly AI in an open and collaborative way, like OpenAI, MIRI and others. From what I have gathered, most of them have strong ties to the US with some influences from Central Europe and South East Asia. But I didn't find a single instance where Russia participates in any of those groups.

Does Russia contribute to open research concerning friendly AI? Are there any open AI projects with strong ties to Russia?

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One instance of interest to you could be the extremely popular OpenCV library. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenCV

Initiated by Intel in 1999. A majority of the contributors were optimization experts from Russia. It is BSD licensed. Development is now done by core team in Russia with corporate sponsors.

The about page of OpenCV currently states

Along with well-established companies like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Sony, Honda, Toyota that employ the library, there are many startups such as Applied Minds, VideoSurf, and Zeitera, that make extensive use of OpenCV. OpenCV’s deployed uses span the range from stitching streetview images together, detecting intrusions in surveillance video in Israel, monitoring mine equipment in China, helping robots navigate and pick up objects at Willow Garage, detection of swimming pool drowning accidents in Europe, running interactive art in Spain and New York, checking runways for debris in Turkey, inspecting labels on products in factories around the world on to rapid face detection in Japan.

So, OpenCV has had machine learning, and now it has deep learning as well among its modules in its latest release, so I guess it qualifies for the friendly AI label.

Furthermore, there is a lot of technical research generated in Russia that is published in Russian. I've heard of interesting examples of very advanced aerospace research, collecting dust in Russian journals, that has 'inspired' research in the US. I am not aware of the original researchers were properly credited for their work, or indeed the extent of the veracity of these stories. Nevertheless, it would certainly be to everyone's benefit if language barriers did not impede collaboration between developers and researchers in Russia and the rest of the world.

I feel that the only real hurdle here is that someone has to go and create a portal/framework/institution that provides a platform for developers in Russia to share their work in AI and ease the language and any other non-technical issues that might be impeding this.

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