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Elon Musk Donates $10 Million to Make Sure A.I. Research Doesn’t Bring About Age of Ultron

Come with millions if you want to live.

Avengers Age of Ultron

I’ll stop saying Elon Musk is secretly Tony Stark when he stops acting like it, and he’s been very concerned about unstoppable AI destroying all of humanity lately. The Tesla Motors and SpaceX founder is so concerned, in fact, that he’s now donated $10 million towards research into how to create sophisticated AI without any Skynet-like tendencies.

Musk’s donation went to the Future of Life Institute, which is the organization that recently released an open letter advocating for AI researchers to put more effort into making sure that their computer brains not only excel at their tasks but also think about the greater good of humanity while completing them. A whole lot of scientific and computer learning experts signed on in support, but Musk’s donation should help them actually get the job done.

He’s quoted in FLI’s blog post about the donation to say, “Here are all these leading AI researchers saying that AI safety is important. I agree with them, so I’m today committing $10M to support research aimed at keeping AI beneficial for humanity.” The post goes on to elaborate about how the money will be used:

The $10M program will be administered by the Future of Life Institute, a non-profit organization whose scientific advisory board includes AI-researchers Stuart Russell and Francesca Rossi. “I love technology, because it’s what’s made 2015 better than the stone age”, says MIT professor and FLI president Max Tegmark. “Our organization studies how we can maximize the benefits of future technologies while avoiding potential pitfalls.”

The research supported by the program will be carried out around the globe via an open grants competition, through an application portal at http://futureoflife.org that will open by Monday January 19. The plan is to award the majority of the grant funds to AI researchers, and the remainder to AI-related research involving other fields such as economics, law, ethics and policy (a detailed list of examples can be found here). “Anybody can send in a grant proposal, and the best ideas will win regardless of whether they come from academia, industry or elsewhere”, says FLI co-founder Viktoriya Krakovna.

Along with research grants, the program will also include meetings and outreach programs aimed at bringing together academic AI researchers, industry AI developers and other key constituents to continue exploring how to maximize the societal benefits of AI; one such meeting was held in Puerto Rico last week with many of the open-letter signatories.

Do you think we could score a grant if we promise FLI that we’ll keep making Terminator/Avengers jokes about artificial intelligence to literally anyone who will listen?

(via Daily Dot)

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