Tesla Morors CEO Elon Musk, Sam Altman Launch an Artificial Intelligence Research Firm

Elon Musk

Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Sam Altman, the president of Y Combinator, together with other technology entrepreneurs and venture capitalists launched OpenAI, a non-profit artificial intelligence research firm.

OpenAI aims to advance digital intelligence in a way that would be beneficial to humanity. The artificial intelligence research firm said it will not be constrained by the need to generate financial return.

Musk and Altman serve as co-chairman of OpenAI. The launching came amid a debate on the potential negative and positive impacts of artificial intelligence to humanity.

Musk on artificial intelligence

In an interview with CNBC last year, Musk said, “I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful.”

“I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish,” he added.

In an interview with Steve Levy if Medium.com, Musk said he discussed his concerns regarding artificial intelligence with Altman, Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman—both venture capitalists and others. They thought of a way to make sure or increase the possibility that any development in artificial intelligence would be beneficial.

His conversation with them resulted to the establishment of OpenAI, a 501c3, a non-profit with no obligation to maximize profitability. Musk said OpenAi will be “very focused on safety.”

Musk emphasized, “I’m going to be super conscious personally on safety. This is something that I am quite concerned about. And if we do see something that we think is potentially a safety risk, we will want to make that public.”

Financial support for OpenAI

In a blog post, OpenAI said Altman, Musk, Hoffman, Thiel, Jessica Livingston, the founding partner of Y Combinator, and OpenAI CTO Greg Brockman, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Infosys, and YC Research committed a total of $1 billion funding.

According to OpenAI, it will only spend a tiny fraction of the $1 billion over the next few years. The artificial intelligence research firm wants to grow itself as an institution that develops value for everyone rather than shareholders.

It will strongly encourage its researches to publish their work and to freely collaborate with others across many institutions. OpenAI will work with companies to research and deploy new technologies.