“There needs to be a lot more work on AI safety,” Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said during a recent Q&A on Reddit.
Putting his money where his Internet comments are, Musk is donating $10 million to the nonprofit Future of Life Institute to support a global research program aimed at ensuring that artificial intelligence is used for the benefit of humanity.
The donation comes shortly after Musk joined hundreds of scientists and intellectuals, including Stephen Hawking, in signing an open letter outlining recommendations for the future of artificial intelligence research.
“The potential benefits [of AI research] are huge, since everything that civilization has to offer is a product of human intelligence,” the letter stated. “[T]he eradication of disease and poverty are not unfathomable. Because of the great potential of AI, it is important to research how to reap its benefits while avoiding potential pitfalls.”
Musk’s $10 million donation to the Future of Life Institute will go toward grants for artificial intelligence researchers from a broad range of disciplines–including economics, law, ethics, and policy.
“Dramatic advances in artificial intelligence are opening up a range of exciting new applications,” Demis Hassabis, cofounder of the Google-owned DeepMind Technologies, said in a press release put out by the Future of Life Institute. “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.”
In the past two years, Google and Facebook have both invested in an artificial intelligence-related field known as deep learning. You can read more about deep learning here.