Elon Musk, Amazon and other notable tech names pledge $1bn for OpenAI
Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Paypal co-founder and investor Peter Thiel, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Sam Altman and Jessica Livingston from the startup accelerator Y Combinator, Indian tech giant Infosys and several other notable tech names have launched a new artificial intelligence startup called OpenAI. The company’s founders are already backing the initiative with $1 billion in research funding over the years to come.
Ilya Sutskever, a former Google research scientist, and Greg Brockman, the former chief technology officers of high-profile payments startup Stripe, who will serve as the chief technology officers and research director of the non-profit OpenAI, respectively. Other members of the group are a who’s who in artificial intelligence. The non-profit artificial intelligence research company – OpenAI – also includes Altman and Elon Musk as the company’s co-chairs.
A statement on the website of OpenAI –
“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”
OpenAI says it expects its research – free from financial obligations – to focus on a “positive human impact”. Scientists have warned that advances in artificial intelligence could ultimately threaten humanity.
Elon Musk recently told students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that “if I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that”.
The non-profit artificial intelligence research company – OpenAI, joins a number of other initiatives by prominent companies like Google, Apple, Facebook and IBM to tap advanced computer technology to solve problems such as identifying images, recognizing spoken words, and translating from one language to another.
A statement on the website of OpenAI said – “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 statement said “AI should be an extension of individual human wills and, in the spirit of liberty, as broadly and evenly distributed as is possible safely”.
In an interview with Steven Levy, Elon Musk explained on the idea of Artificial Intelligence as an extension of individual human wills – “If you think about how you use, say, applications on the internet, you’ve got your email and you’ve got the social media and with apps on your phone — they effectively make you superhuman and you don’t think of them as being other, you think of them as being an extension of yourself. So to the degree that we can guide AI in that direction, we want to do that.”
Recently, Google open sourced the core software engine, TensorFlow, that drives its deep learning services, and just this week, Facebook open sourced its deep learning hardware.