According to a recent announcement by the Future of Life Institute (FLI), SpaceX head Elon Musk and the Open Philanthropy Project donated 10 million dollars to the FLI’s mission to protect mankind from AI (Artificial Intelligence). The FLI also announced that there will be a total of 37 different groups of researchers receiving nearly 7 million dollars worth of grants.
These investigative teams were chosen from a total of approximately 300 applicants. Each chosen group will be assigned a specific, difficult AI issue to analyze. One project will focus on teaching AI exactly what human beings want thus insuring that the interest of robots match those of mankind which would also keep AI under control.
Another group headed up by Manuela Veloso from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania will be concentrating on programming AI that will fully explain their choices to human beings. Yet another team led by Benja Fallenstein at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI) Berkley, California will be working on making certain that the interests of AI systems remain aligned with human values. (The complete list of winners and study descriptions are now available online.)
The majority of these special AI-related projects will begin in earnest sometime this September. Each research team will be funded for a maximum of three years. The remainder of the donated millions will be earmarked for other purposes at a later date yet to be announced. The FLI must first decide which specific projects are the most likely to bear fruit.
Max Tegmark, president of the Future of Life Institute, concluded: “The danger with the Terminator scenario isn’t that it will happen, but that it distracts from the real issues posed by future AI. We’re staying focused, and the 37 teams supported by today’s grants should help solve such real issues”.
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