An Elon Musk-backed artificial intelligence research group just got a brand new toy from chip maker Nvidia. Nvidia nvda said on Monday that it had donated one of its new supercomputers to the OpenAI non-profit artificial intelligence research project. OpenAI debuted in December with financial backing from Tesla and SpaceX CEO Musk along with money from other high-profile technology luminaries like LinkedIn lnkd co-founder Reid Hoffman and PayPal pypl co-founder Peter Thiel. OpenAI's goal is partly to create a non-profit outside the corporate sector that could research artificial intelligence technologies without a financial incentive. The concern is that many companies like Google and Facebook that are researching artificial intelligence technologies would horde talent and only work on projects beneficial to their financial interests.
OpenAI's top researcher has made a startling claim this week: that artificial intelligence may already be gaining consciousness. Ilya Sutskever, chief scientist of the OpenAI research group, tweeted today that "it may be that today's large neural networks are slightly conscious." Needless to say, that's an unusual point of view. The widely accepted idea among AI researchers is that the tech has made great strides over the past decade, but still falls far short of human intelligence, nevermind being anywhere close to experiencing the world consciously. It's possible that Sutskever was speaking facetiously, but it's also conceivable that as the top researcher at one of the foremost AI groups in the world, he's already looking downrange. He's long been preoccupied with artificial general intelligence, or AGI, which would refer to AI that operates at a human or superhuman level.
Microsoft is furthering its mission to democratize artificial intelligence. The company is teaming up with the AI research organization OpenAI to advance the acceleration of the technology. "We've made major strides in artificial intelligence just in the past five years, achieving milestones many people who have devoted their lives to the field wouldn't have thought possible," wrote Harry Shum executive vice president of Microsoft's artificial intelligence and research group, in a post. "Now we have the opportunity to help our partners and customers use these breakthroughs to achieve their goals." OpenAI will utilize Microsoft's Azure cloud service to conduct its large-scale AI and deep learning experiments.
OpenAI, an artificial intelligence research group created by Silicon Valley investors as a non-profit, will now be seeking "capped" profit, according to a blog post on the OpenAI website published Monday. SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, startup accelerator Y Combinator president Sam Altman, and several other Silicon Valley figures launched OpenAI in late 2015 with $1 billion in seed funding and the stated goal of ensuring that AI "benefits all of humanity." Musk stepped down from OpenAI in February 2018. Since its founding, the group has conducted research with reinforcement learning, robotics, and language. According to OpenAI, the original nonprofit entity will own a limited partnership called OpenAI LP that's designed to give a "capped return" to investors and employees and funnel excess funds back to the nonprofit.
A high-profile artificial intelligence research group backed by Elon Musk said it is developing a robot. OpenAI, which formed in December, said on Monday that it's working on creating an "off-the-shelf" robot that others can manufacture. The idea is to design a robot outside of a corporate umbrella as a way to speed innovation without a financial motive. OpenAI is backed by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in addition to other high-profile technology executives and entrepreneurs, including LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Sam Altman and Jessica Livingston from startup incubator Y Combinator, and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. Artificial intelligence techniques like machine learning, in which algorithms detect patterns by sifting through enormous quantities of data and then act on the findings, have become popular in recent years with companies like Google and Facebook.