Koch Industries and C3.ai are getting cozier. The companies announced a deal on Tuesday to extend their work together, allowing Koch Industries employees to use no-code AI tools.
A prominent donor to Republicans and conservative causes, Koch Industries and its subsidiaries in the oil, gas, paper and financial services industries will get access for another five years to AI-fueled machine-learning models and software from C3.ai. The companies first partnered in 2020.
C3.ai promises to “democratize AI” by making it easy for non-coders to create and use machine learning and predictive analytics tools for things like energy management, supply chain logistics and detecting faulty equipment. The company’s CEO, Thomas Siebel, is one of the enterprise AI industry’s most vocal proponents of using AI in support of “democratic values” and has actively sought U.S. military contracts for the company as a means of achieving that goal.
Koch Industries has been under the spotlight recently for fresh political contributions that could influence lawmakers in supporting the company as it continues its glass manufacturing subsidiary’s operations in Russia, despite the country’s attacks on Ukraine.
In a statement about the extended agreement, C3.ai said Koch’s employees will get access to its no-code AI Ex Machina software. Low- and no-code AI tools have been criticized for making potentially risky AI easier for people to use without proper training on data privacy and security or the implications of automating faulty, inaccurate or biased decision-making tech.
Himself a philanthropic donor, Siebel has supported controversial causes. Earlier this year he contributed $90,000 to the so-called "Freedom Convoy" of truckers who shut down large parts of Canada's capital as well as a key border crossing to protest pandemic protections.