“Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and other technology entrepreneurs are betting that talented researchers, provided enough freedom and money, can develop artificial intelligence systems as advanced as those being built by the sprawling teams at Google, Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Along the way, they’d like to save humanity from oblivion,” Jack Clark reports for Bloomberg. “The pair are among the backers of OpenAI, a nonprofit company introduced Friday that will research novel artificial intelligence systems and share its findings. The group’s backers have committed ‘significant’ amounts of money to funding the project, Musk said in an interview. ‘Think of it as at least a billion.'”

“Musk, in autumn 2014, described the development of AI as being like ‘summoning the demon.’ With OpenAI, Musk said the idea is: ‘if you’re going to summon anything, make sure it’s good,'” Clark reports. “‘The goal of OpenAI is really somewhat straightforward, it’s what set of actions can we take that increase the probability of the future being better,’ Musk said. ‘We certainly don’t want to have any negative surprises on this front.'”

“The organization has attracted other talented researchers, whose past work ranges from developing robots that can learn to perform tasks based on human demonstrations, to software that can improve its own code to solve new problems,” Clark reports. “OpenAI’s chief technology officer is Greg Brockman, formerly the CTO of Stripe, a startup valued in excess of $1 billion. Its research director is lauded AI researcher Ilya Sutskever… ‘This collection of people is stunning,’ said Pieter Abbeel, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley and an adviser to the company. Other advisers to OpenAI include Yoshua Bengio, one of the founding figures of a powerful form of artificial intelligence called Deep Learning, and Alan Kay, a lauded American computer scientist.”

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