Elon Musk donates $10M to the Future of Life Institute to keep AI beneficial

We are delighted to re­port that tech­nol­ogy in­ven­tor Elon Musk, cre­ator of Tesla and SpaceX, has de­cided to donate $10M to the Fu­ture of Life In­sti­tute to run a global re­search pro­gram aimed at keep­ing AI benefi­cial to hu­man­ity.

There is now a broad con­sen­sus that AI re­search is pro­gress­ing steadily, and that its im­pact on so­ciety is likely to in­crease. A long list of lead­ing AI-re­searchers have signed an open let­ter call­ing for re­search aimed at en­sur­ing that AI sys­tems are ro­bust and benefi­cial, do­ing what we want them to do. Musk’s dona­tion aims to sup­port pre­cisely this type of re­search: “Here are all these lead­ing AI re­searchers say­ing that AI safety is im­por­tant”, says Elon Musk. “I agree with them, so I’m to­day com­mit­ting $10M to sup­port re­search aimed at keep­ing AI benefi­cial for hu­man­ity.”

[...] The $10M pro­gram will be ad­ministered by the Fu­ture of Life In­sti­tute, a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion whose sci­en­tific ad­vi­sory board in­cludes AI-re­searchers Stu­art Rus­sell and Francesca Rossi. [...]

The re­search sup­ported by the pro­gram will be car­ried out around the globe via an open grants com­pe­ti­tion, through an ap­pli­ca­tion por­tal at http://​​fu­ture­oflife.org that will open by Thurs­day Jan­uary 22. The plan is to award the ma­jor­ity of the grant funds to AI re­searchers, and the re­main­der to AI-re­lated re­search in­volv­ing other fields such as eco­nomics, law, ethics and policy (a de­tailed list of ex­am­ples can be found here [PDF]). “Any­body can send in a grant pro­posal, and the best ideas will win re­gard­less of whether they come from academia, in­dus­try or el­se­where”, says FLI co-founder Vik­toriya Krakovna.

[...] Along with re­search grants, the pro­gram will also in­clude meet­ings and out­reach pro­grams aimed at bring­ing to­gether aca­demic AI re­searchers, in­dus­try AI de­vel­op­ers and other key con­stituents to con­tinue ex­plor­ing how to max­i­mize the so­cietal benefits of AI; one such meet­ing was held in Puerto Rico last week with many of the open-let­ter sig­na­to­ries.

Elon Musk donates $10M to keep AI benefi­cial, Fu­ture of Life In­sti­tute, Thurs­day Jan­uary 15, 2015