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Artificial Intelligence (AI) carries with it the promise to transform our lives. Sadly, it also harbours many risks.
Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has been candid in his warnings against the dangers of unrestrained AI, telling the BBC that advanced artificial intelligence could potentially “re-design itself at an ever increasing rate,” quickly surpassing humans and overthrowing its fleshy masters.
A group of leading entrepreneurs has now set itself the task of preventing this possibility, instead developing “altruistic AI.”
“OpenAI” is a venture whose backers include Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel, Y Combinator president Sam Altman, Linkedin co-founder Reid Hoffman, Amazon Web Services, and others.
The non-profit research company has already had $1bn in funding pledged to it, to develop AI that will have “positive human impact.”
Musk recently told an audience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that AI presents humanity with its “biggest existential threat.” This is why the ventures aims “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 project’s statement reads.
“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.”
AI, according to the statement, “should be an extension of individual human wills and, in the spirit of liberty, as broadly and evenly distributed as is possible safely”.
Seeing the incredible things Musk has accomplished in his undertakings so far, it’s a hopeful prospect for the future that he’s getting behind making AI that will work for the benefit of all.