Elon Musk leads tech giants with $1bn AI research plan

Posted on 15 Jan 2016 by Cobey Bartels

Elon Musk and Sam Altman have set out to create a billion-dollar not-for-profit artificial intelligence research company, with the aim of maximizing the development and safety of AI.

Elon Musk, Tesla and SpaceX CEO, announced the formation of OpenAI on Twitter and in the company’s introductory blog post he was named co-chair alongside Y Combinator president Sam Altman.

A group of tech elite have committed $1bn to AI research through OpenAI without a need to generate revenue, instead focusing on even distribution and a positive impact.

“Since our research is free from financial obligations, we can better focus on a positive human impact.

“We believe AI should be an extension of individual human wills and, in the spirit of liberty, as broadly and evenly distributed as possible,” OpenAI said in their initial post.

The news of OpenAI comes after Musk and a number of other movers and shakers called for a ban on weaponising AI.

“It’s hard to fathom how much human-level AI could benefit society, and it’s equally hard to imagine how much it could damage society if built or used incorrectly,” the OpenAI post said.

OpenAI plans to operate at a not-for-profit, sharing information via blog posts. It has been said that researchers within the company will be encouraged to publish papers, code, patents and other information to the world.

“We think the best way AI can develop is if it’s about individual empowerment and making humans better, and made freely available to everyone, not a single entity that is a million times more powerful than any human,” said Sam Altman in an interview in Backchannel.

OpenAI’s research director is Ilya Sutskever, one of the world experts in machine learning. Our CTO is Greg Brockman, formerly the CTO of Stripe. The group’s other founding members are world-class research engineers and scientists: Trevor Blackwell, Vicki Cheung, Andrej Karpathy, Durk Kingma, John Schulman, Pamela Vagata, and Wojciech Zaremba. Pieter Abbeel, Yoshua Bengio, Alan Kay, Sergey Levine, and Vishal Sikka are advisors to the group. OpenAI co-chairs are Sam Altman and Elon Musk.

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