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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