SpaceX’s CEO and founder Elon Musk and a couple of groups donated $7 million to 37 research team that will focus on assessing the risks of rising artificial intelligence for the future of humanity.
But Elon Musk is not the only one concerned about how super-smart robots and computers may influence our society and species. Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates share common views with Tesla’s founder.
The trio fears that machines can become so smart and mimic us in a manner that would soon make us obsolete.That’s the reason Musk, The Future of Life and Open Philanthropy Project groups invested so much in AI research.
But Musk seems not to be concerned about a movie-like Roboapocalypse with super computers outsmarting humans and suddenly gaining conscience or an army of self-regenerating terminators coming to wipe us out. His apocalyptic scenario is more down to earth, and the research he is funding will focus on practical matters such as self-driving cars and roboassistants operating independently.
For instance a research project wants to seek for methods of “managing the liability for the harms they might cause to individuals and property.” In other words, who will pay a fine if a robot damages somebody else’s property.
Another research project will focus on finding the best ways for a computer to self-explain when it takes a specific decision such as troubleshooting some issues. For instance, a robot can buy and sell shares on a stock market. But in its efforts to maximize profit, it can also do something illegal. So, human operators may step in and make it self-question his motives.
All research projects seek to find ways of making sure that super-intelligent machines would cooperate with humans “in ways that wouldn’t have been possible before,” explained a spokesperson for the Future of Life Institute.
But Elon Musks plans of investing in making AI safer are not new. The $7 million announced Wednesday are part of a $10 million donation made to The Future of Life Institute in January.
Google and China’s Baidoo are also heavily investing in AI research but for their own profits rather than making it safer. Facebook is currently using AI-powered algorithms for learning more about their customers’ behavior and provide more relevant content in the News Feed.
The Future of Life Institute compared current groups researching AI to the staffers at a nuclear plan – some of them do research to make the technology more efficient, while others seek new ways of making it safer. But they all work toward a common goal.
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