Science and Tech


Artificial Intelligence Will Be Safe And Open If Elon Musk Can Help It

OpenAI is a nonprofit artificial intelligence research company backed by Elon Musk that wants to keep AI safe and open to the world.
Posted at 3:17 PM, Dec 12, 2015

"Pattern recognition, artificial neural network, reinforcement learning for example, statistical inference and probabilistic machine learning," said narrators in a machine learning video from Google.

Nothing can unite a group of technologists quite like artificial intelligence.

Which is exactly what's happening in the case of OpenAI, a nonprofit research company focusing on all things digital intelligence.

OpenAI's mission: "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 research company is backed by some big names in tech, some of whom are Tesla Motors' CEO Elon Musk, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman. All told, the backers have committed $1 billion to OpenAI's research efforts.

The company intends to research artificial intelligence out in the open. Studies, data and even patents from OpenAI "will be shared with the world." But it's not just a free exchange of ideas the company hopes to foster; it also wants to make sure artificial intelligence remains safe. (Videos via IBMDARPA)

"I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. ... I mean, with artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon," said Elon Musk at an event at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Elon Musk isn't shy about his AI hesitations. And he's hardly the first — and certainly not the last — technologist to share their concerns.

"I think the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race. Once humans develop artificial intelligence, it would take off on its own and redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate," said Stephen Hawking in an interview with BBC.

As for OpenAI's thoughts on artificial intelligence, the company says, "AI should be an extension of individual human wills and, in the spirit of liberty, as broadly and evenly distributed as is possible safely." (Video via A24 / "Ex Machina")

This video includes images from Getty Images.