Silicon Valley billionaires, Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and Reid Hoffman announced on Friday that they are planning to help commit $1 billion to an Artificial Intelligence centre in San Francisco.
OpenAI, the official name of the project, is said to be a non-profit organisation, and the eventual goal is to produce a machine capable of performing any mental task that an average human can, and then research it in a variety of different ways.
“Because of AI’s surprising history, it’s hard to predict when human-level AI might come within reach. When it does, it’ll be important to have a leading research institution which can prioritize a good outcome for all over its own self-interest.” states OpenAI in an introductory blog post on their website.
“We’re hoping to grow OpenAI into such an institution. As a non-profit, our aim is to build value for everyone rather than shareholders. Researchers will be strongly encouraged to publish their work, whether as papers, blog posts, or code, and our patents (if any) will be shared with the world. We’ll freely collaborate with others across many institutions and expect to work with companies to research and deploy new technologies.”
If these statements remain true, OpenAI will act as a for-public, open-source research laboratory and safeguarding organisation, made up of the world’s scientific and technological leaders, for the betterment of humanity. In their introductory blog post, OpenAI also describes themselves as an “extension of individual human wills” and “in the spirit of liberty,” perhaps suggesting that the organisation has politically libertarian values.
The full list of backers and financial donors includes Tesla founder Elon Musk, PayPal co-founder and Facebook investor Peter Thiel, and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, as well as OpenAI co-founder and ex-chief technology officer at Stripe, Greg Brockman, OpenAI chairman Sam Altman, Y-Combinator founding partner Jessica Livingston, Amazon Web Services, Infosys, and YC Research.
Although donors have committed a total of $1 billion, OpenAI “expect[s] to only spend a tiny fraction of this in the next few years,” reiterating that this project is expected to be a long-term plan.
It is unknown as to when development on OpenAI will start, or whether it has started already.
Charlie Nash is a libertarian writer, memeologist, and child prodigy. When he is not writing, he can usually be found chilling at the Korova Milk Bar, mingling with the infamous. You can follow him on Twitter at @MrNashington.