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AI The Almighty Buck

Elon Musk, Others Fund $1B Non-Profit To Advance AI Research, Ethics ( 56

As reported by The Wall Street Journal, The Verge, and many others (including this widely run Reuters story), a heavily backed non-profit group called OpenAI on Friday introduced itself and its utopian-sounding goals of open sourcing a great deal of AI research and, as The Verge puts it, "to stop AI from ruining the world." Elon Musk and Peter Thiel are two of the backers, along with Y-combinator president Sam Altman and other Silicon Valley luminaries, so the group starts out with a war chest big enough to support a wide range of research -- a billion dollars. According to the Wall Street Journal, The idea for OpenAI crystallized last summer as a result of ongoing discussions between Mr. Musk and Mr. Altman over the future of AI. Mr. Musk has warned in the past that the future of the Earth is at risk if AI develops in the wrong ways. Tesla, one of the companies he leads, is adding autonomous capabilities to its cars that require AI technology such as image recognition. ... OpenAI intends to collaborate with the academic and for-profit worlds, but it also wants to give researchers the freedom to pursue lines of enquiry without pressure to achieve an immediate pay-off. “Our focus is not only doing the right thing for today, but also doing the right thing for 50 years from now,” Mr. Brockman said.
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Elon Musk, Others Fund $1B Non-Profit To Advance AI Research, Ethics

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  • Apparently... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @10:44AM (#51109539)
    Elon must love terrifying himself with all his talk of AI lately.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Elon is a toolshed that goes out of his way to speak on topics to which he has no education. AI is so far away from the Hollywood doomsday picture he's painting that it's absurd to even worry about it.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Whoever you are, thank you. As a researcher in AI undoing damage from people like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking is a monumental task. These people are smart in their own right, but know jack shit about AI and should shut the fuck up about it.

        • by khallow ( 566160 )

          . As a researcher in AI undoing damage from people like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking is a monumental task.


          but know jack shit about AI and should shut the fuck up about it.

          It would help if you knew more than jack shit either. None of us know what AI could do. All we have are some incredibly weak thermodynamic constraints.

    • Elon has publicly stated that AI is bad, but it appears that AI is not bad if Elon does it?
  • I don't know how that guy managed to make his money, luck basically. He's got the good judgement of a pigeon.

  • Hold On Tight! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @11:05AM (#51109599)
    Computers, 3D printing and AI are all super, major developments. Any major development in human history has carried a certain amount of chaos, pain and suffering along with it. AI is going to cause a total shift in the nature of human affairs and existence. But in theory, we have an advantage. We can see it coming and we can buffer the negative consequences if we choose to do so. Obviously human employment will become quite rare in the near future. People without jobs must be well supported by governments. They must have all that is needed to get by plus more so that they can consume products produced by industry. Taxes can only come from people who can afford to pay them and that translates into the wealthy and businesses paying the tax load for the rest of us. I know the knee-jerk reaction that some people will have when i mention this. And just maybe that is the area that we need to spend money on. We need to make people aware that a huge change is upon them and that there is no choice but to eliminate many long-held beliefs in order to have a smoother transition into the new era. Imagine the chaos that went on when we went from the horse to the car. That was nothing compared to what Ai has in store for us.
    • What, again? We have to drop everything and adopt socialism NOW? This argument comes up every single time. The arguments are all different and they are worded in different ways but the ideas are the same and the last one is as wrong as the first."

      You don't even know what socialism means. It means work. People who don't work...socialists will coldheartedly let them starve. Yup! For realsies! Check into your own history.

      • Respectively: no, no, and the (terrible) execution of it does not define socialism.

        More importantly: You entered the term into the discussion. You chose to use the most dire depiction of it as the definition. Nothing in Jim Sadler's post implied that we should let people starve. If that is what socialism is to you, then obviously Jim Sadler was not talking about 'socialism'.

        In simpler terms: you created and attacked a straw man. A classic and egregious fallacy in (your) reasoning.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Do not confuse any socio-political system with the actions of individuals. No matter the socio-political system psychopaths, will corrupt it every single time in their favour and collapse the system over time. Communism, capitalism, socialism, democracy, anarchy, all collapse under the corruptive influence of psychopaths, simple fact of life.

        For artificial intelligence the focus should be on application. So most current application, translation services. So automatic written translation in proper context

  • If they take these actions, and malevolent strong AI does not come to pass, perhaps they've saved us all.

    If they take these actions, and malevolent strong AI does come to pass, they're no more doomed than they would've been anyhow.

    Of course, Pascal's wager falls apart if you pick the wrong god to worship (or the wrong way to worship it), and Musk and Thiel's wager falls apart if the world-consuming evil AI has a soft spot for goodlife []. And if strong AI doesn't happen in any form, maybe they've wasted their

    • From TFS:

      "to stop AI from ruining the world."

      There is no need for AI to ruin the world . . . humans are perfectly capable of doing that themselves, without the help of AI.

      A loftier goal for these rich folks, would be to research ways to stop humans from ruining the world.

  • by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @11:32AM (#51109685) Homepage

    I guess Musk got an AI demo that scared the bejeezus out of him because I always think about an article I read about the genesis of SpaceX where he sat down for a couple of days with a spreadsheet working at figuring out if there was a business opportunity with a reusable launcher.

    That kind of data centric, analytical approach doesn't seem to be taken here - it seems to be more knee-jerk worry than anything else.

    Better uses for the $1B? Let's see:
    - Practical electric propulsion for airliners.
    - Large scale power storage and distribution systems for EV, wind and tidal (all renewable) energy sources.
    - Lunar mining, refining and smelting to help create a sustainable industry off earth.
    - An electric delivery van.
    - Accelerating the Dragon II development.

    All would provide returns which would help mankind, would disrupt entrenched industries and provide a (somewhat risky) ROI for other investors to join in.

    • "Lunar mining, refining and smelting to help create a sustainable industry off earth."

      The most expensive construction ever built off-earth to create a product for which no customers exist. You'll need more than a billion to launch an entire space industry.

  • by matbury ( 3458347 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @12:32PM (#51109835) Homepage

    AI is no match for human stupidity.

  • I suspect the paypal billionaires get their AI views from Dilbert []

  • by reemul ( 1554 ) on Sunday December 13, 2015 @05:21PM (#51110905)

    Elon Musk is a brilliant man, but he won't hand you a hanky without finding some way to get a government grant or subsidy out of it. Every one of his businesses gets at least some money shaken out of the taxpayers somewhere in the process. So where is he getting the federal or state money for this venture? I can't believe that he has broken with his long practice of finding a way for the government to pay him to do what he was going to do anyway, that would be a bigger story than the AI thing.

    • by czert ( 3156611 )
      You know, governments *want* brilliant people to take advantages of their subsidies. That's the only reason those subsidies exist, actually: to steer economic potential the way the governments want to. I fail to see what's wrong with Musk taking part in that.
  • Committing to controllable AI is fine, but the Government, NSA, CIA, FBI and the other TLAs will ignore the research and do what THEY want and to hell with reasonable AI. Same for the Military, Police and Terrorists! You really think they will give a hoot about controllable AI. I for one would wold be on the lookout for SkyNet.
  • I'll give $300 million for carving out a separate country for Untouchable/Dalit in India []

Happiness is twin floppies.