SpaceX founder Elon Musk donated $10 million to the Future of Life Institute (FLI) in order to fund a global research program aimed at preventing an artificial intelligence-driven robot uprising.
Musk — who last year compared AI to “summoning a demon” — announced his donation in a tweet yesterday:
Funding research on artificial intelligence safety. It's all fun & games until someone loses an I //t.co/t1aGnrTU21
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 15, 2015
In the linked announcement, the FLI stated that there exists “broad consensus that AI research is progressing steadily, and that its impact on society is likely to increase,” but that more “research aimed at ensuring that AI systems are robust and beneficial, doing what we want them to do” is required.
The institute hopes that Musk’s donation “will provide the impetus to jump-start research on AI safety.”
“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.”
University of Santa Cruz professor Anthony Aguirre said that Musk’s donation “will make a major impact. While heavy industry and government investment has finally brought AI from niche academic research to early forms of a potentially world-transforming technology, to date relatively little funding has been available to help ensure that this change is actually a net positive one for humanity.”
The donation will fund research via an open grants competition that will begin accepting proposals on January 22, 2015.
Watch a video of Elon Musk and Thomas Dietterich about the announcement on YouTube below.