Tesla co-founder Elon Musk has been warning us for a while about what could happen if artificial intelligence (AI) gets into the wrong hands, and just last fall, he even equated it to being like "summoning the demon." That's quite a statement, and to some, it might make him seem a little crazy. But, there's no reason to take the threat any other way than seriously. Musk knows a thing or two about technology, after all.
Where AI is concerned, Musk has proven himself to not just encourage serious thinking about the subject, but to also help fund research as well. Way back in January of this year, Musk donated $10,000,000 to AI research in the form of grants. He didn't have certain research in mind to be funded, but instead asked the community at large to submit ideas.
Musk's desire to help fuel AI research continues with the launch of OpenAI, an initiative that will support progress without the thought of financial gain. Musk, along with Sam Altman, will act as co-chairs.
At the helm of OpenAI is leading machine-learning expert Ilya Sutskever, while former Stripe CTO Greg Brockman will become the CTO here. The group already has the support of a wide-range of research engineers and scientists.
"OpenAI is a non-profit artificial intelligence research company," the non-profit states in a letter. "Our goal is to advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, unconstrained by a need to generate financial return."
The letter continues on to say that while AI has had an interesting history and has accomplished some neat things, it's machine-learning that has really blown the doors off of the realization of what's possible. Ultimately, the goal is to create AI that's "human-like", which is why an organization that oversees progress and makes sure that research is steered in the direction of the greater good is so important.
"As a non-profit, our aim is to build value for everyone rather than shareholders. Researchers will be strongly encouraged to publish their work, whether as papers, blog posts, or code, and our patents (if any) will be shared with the world. We'll freely collaborate with others across many institutions and expect to work with companies to research and deploy new technologies."
It's hard to not get a little excited at the prospect of what this could become, and with so much brainpower and support behind it, it could lead to some truly impressive results.