How Elon Musk's $10 Million Donation Is Preventing AI from Wiping Out Humanity
Of that $10 million, $7 million is going to grants for various research projects on artificial intelligence. But rather than trying to advance the artificial intelligence technology itself, the projects mostly focus on honing AI's decision-making abilities in order to ensure that the technology is used wisely.
The known specifics of the projects, whose titles include Understanding When A Deep Network Is Going To Be Wrong and How to Build Ethics into Robust Artificial Intelligence, seem to indicate a growing concern with teaching robots to behave ethically and understand human thought processes, so they don't, say, decide to end human suffering by killing all humans. Three studies at UC Berkeley and Oxford University, for example, will help robots learn what humans would prefer them to do based on observations of our behavior. Another project at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute is getting $250,000 to develop an ethical system for robots, while a study at Carnegie-Mellon will get $200,000 to help AI explain its decisions to humans. Most ominously, a Stanford University study aims to ensure that AI-driven weapons are under "meaningful human control."
There's also a project that aims to draft AI-related policy led by Oxford's Nick Bostrom, who famously claims that artificial "superintelligence" would form a new world order. This is possibly the least surprising news of all, as Musk has publicly stated that he was impacted by Bostrom's book.
Worth reading Superintelligence by Bostrom. We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 3, 2014
Tegmark, even as he advises caution with new technologies, isn't quite as worried about the robot apocalypse. In fact, he claims that Hollywood's bleak, catastrophic vision of the future may distract from the real issues surrounding AI that this grant money will go towards combating. "This week 'Terminator Genisys' is coming out and that's such a great reminder of what we should not worry about," said Tegmark.