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Musk donates $10M to keep Artificial Intelligence friendly
by Staff Writers
Moscow, Russia (Sputnik) Jan 20, 2015

File image.

American entrepreneur Elon Musk has announced that he would contribute $10 million to the Future of Life Institute (FLI) for a global research program aimed at ensuring that artificial intelligence (AI) remains safe for humanity.

"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," Musk is quoted as saying in a statement on FLI's official website.

Funding research on artificial intelligence safety. It's all fun and games until someone loses an I - Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 15 2015

Musk, the founder of space transport services company SpaceX and chief product architect of Tesla Motors, has spoken out against AI and declared it the most serious threat to the survival of the human race.

"I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence," The Guardian quoted Musk as saying back in October, when talking to students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at the AeroAstro Centennial Symposium.

"If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it's probably that. So we need to be very careful," he then said. "I'm increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don't do something very foolish."

According to Forbes, in tweets and multiple public appearances, Musk has compared the dark potential of unfettered artificial super-intelligence to "summoning the demon."

The Guardian says the technology entrepreneur considers his investments in AI research a way of "keeping an eye on what's going on," rather than as something which would offer a viable return on capital.

His recent decision to donate $10 million comes in response to an open letter signed by leading AI researchers, calling for a study that would ensure the safe and beneficial work of all AI systems.

FLI's research program will be conducted worldwide with AI researchers, who will be awarded grants through a competition.

"Dramatic advances in artificial intelligence are opening up a range of exciting new applications," Demis Hassabis, Shane Legg and Mustafa Suleyman, the co-founders of DeepMind Technologies (which was recently acquired by Google), state on the FLI website.

"With these newfound powers comes increased responsibility. Elon's generous donation will support researchers as they investigate the safe and ethical use of artificial intelligence, laying foundations that will have far reaching societal impacts as these technologies continue to progress."

Thomas Dietterich, the president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), also praised Musk's decision.

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