It’s widely known that Elon Musk is apprehensive about the development of AI. (Surely many science fiction fans share his fears!) After warning the public about dangers of artificial intelligence for some time now, Musk along with Y Combinator’s Sam Altman and Jessica Livingston, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and Amazon Web Services are joining forces to more or less stop Skynet.
The group announced the formation of OpenAI, an open-source AI-based research initiative. Here’s an excerpt from their announcement.
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OpenAI is a non-profit artificial intelligence research company. 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.
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.
The outcome of this venture is uncertain and the work is difficult, but we believe the goal and the structure are right. We hope this is what matters most to the best in the field.
While Google, Facebook and Microsoft have similar research departments and openly publish their findings, there could be a chance that getting ahold of their information in the future could cost money. OpenAI has promised to always openly publish their findings. For Musk, this is a matter of public welfare.
I’m going to be super-conscious personally of safety. This is something that I am quite concerned about. And if we do see something that we think is potentially a safety risk, we will want to make that public.
If one thing’s for certain it’s this: Elon Musk is slowly becoming a real-life John Connor.