Elon Musk donated 10 million dollars to the Future of Life Institute (FLI), a group dedicated to preventing potential hazards of artificial intelligence (AI).
Musk is concerned artificial intelligence could soon exceed that of humans, and that computers may, one day, decide they can live without us. The donation is aimed at ensuring automated systems will continue to listen to humans through the future, regardless of future advances in AI technologies.
"It's wonderful, because this will provide the impetus to jump-start research on AI safety. This addresses several fundamental questions in AI research that deserve much more funding than even this donation will provide," Tom Dietterich, president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) said.
Musk is the founder of private space developers SpaceX, as well as the head of Tesla Motors, an automobile company aimed at new technologies.
"Funding research on artificial intelligence safety. It's all fun & games until someone loses an I http://futureoflife.org/misc/AI," Musk tweeted on January 15.
Artificial intelligence is continuing to become more intricate and advanced in recent years. Many observers around the world, including Musk, are becoming increasing concerned with dangers these advances could bring about in the world.
The donation will be used to deliver grants to researchers working on artificial intelligence, and other fields related to the field, including law, ethics, and public policy.
Musk is not alone among science and technology leaders in his concern that AI could pose dangers for humanity. Famed physicist Stephen Hawking has also recently spoken out about potential hazards of the technology.
Research Priorities for Robust and Beneficial Artificial Intelligence: an Open Letter, published on the Future of Life Institute Web site, warns about potential future hazards of AI. The letter is signed by several well-known celebrities in the fields of science and technology.
"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," Anthony Aguirre of the University of California, Santa Cruz stated in a press release from the Future of Life Institute.
Advances in artificial intelligence could lead to new technologies in transportation, health care, and many other fields. In the Terminator series of movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Skynet is a self-aware computer, which aims to wipe out the human race. These films have become the symbol of many futurists concerned over the rise of artificial intelligence.