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Elon Musk's killer-AI prevention projects revealed

Elon Musk donated $10 million (£6.4 million) to the Future of Life institute (opens in new tab), focused on researching all the different dilemmas humans may face from AI in the next 50 years, including killer-robots.

The Future of Life institute has revealed it will be backing 37 projects, whittled down from a list of 300. Here is a summary (opens in new tab) of the projects posted by Future of Life institute:

  • Three projects developing techniques for AI systems to learn what humans prefer from observing our behavior, including projects at UC Berkeley and Oxford University
  • A project by Benja Fallenstein at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute on how to keep the interests of super-intelligent systems aligned with human values
  • A project lead by Manuela Veloso from Carnegie-Mellon University on making AI systems explain their decisions to humans
  • A study by Michael Webb of Stanford University on how to keep the economic impacts of AI beneficial
  • A project headed by Heather Roff studying how to keep AI-driven weapons under “meaningful human control”
  • A new Oxford-Cambridge research center for studying AI-relevant policy

Full details of each project are available here (opens in new tab).

Most of the projects do not involve researching killer robots, and the Future of Life has said it would rather not get into “Terminator” debates. Instead, it wants to focus on real-life scenarios like economic issues with robots, moral decisions and understanding humans.

Elon Musk is not a lone wolf when it comes to worrying about AI, Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates claims there are some major questions and worries on advanced AI and robots.

Creating barriers for governments is another large area the Future of Life institute needs to cover, considering how much damage the US and UK have done on the Internet already through mass surveillance, spying and hacking. Having AI that can help them document, format, correlate and attack would be a huge issue.

AI programs like Watson are already at the point where most of the Internet has been documented, and Google’s investments in DeepMind continue to push the evolution of artificial intelligence forward into a new age—even though we still don’t know the full extent of what is possible with super-intelligent AI.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.