Microsoft announced a $1 billion investment in Elon Musk’s OpenAI, which aims to build “friendly AI” that won’t wipe out humanity.
In exchange, Microsoft will become OpenAI’s exclusive cloud provider, according to CNBC.
According to the company, artificial general intelligence (AGI) will be able to solve more complex problems than standard AI systems, and seeks to create a ‘long-term positive impact’ on humanity. Of note, Musk has characterized AI as the “biggest existential threat” to humanity.
“Modern AI systems work well for the specific problem on which they’ve been trained, but getting AI systems to help address some of the hardest problems facing the world today will require generalization and deep mastery of multiple AI technologies,” the companies wrote in a joint press release. “OpenAI and Microsoft’s vision is for artificial general intelligence to work with people to help solve currently intractable multidisciplinary problems, including global challenges such as climate change, more personalized healthcare and education.”
Each year since 2012, the world has seen a new step function advance in AI capabilities. Though these advances are across very different fields like vision (2012), simple video games (2013), machine translation (2014), complex board games (2015), speech synthesis (2016), image generation (2017), robotic control (2018), and writing text (2019), they are all powered by the same approach: innovative applications of deep neural networks coupled with increasing computational power. But still, AI system building today involves a lot of manual engineering for each well-defined task.
In contrast, an AGI will be a system capable of mastering a field of study to the world-expert level, and mastering more fields than any one human — like a tool which combines the skills of Curie, Turing, and Bach. An AGI working on a problem would be able to see connections across disciplines that no human could. We want AGI to work with people to solve currently intractable multi-disciplinary problems, including global challenges such as climate change, affordable and high-quality healthcare, and personalized education. We think its impact should be to give everyone economic freedom to pursue what they find most fulfilling, creating new opportunities for all of our lives that are unimaginable today. –OpenAI
“We believe that the creation of beneficial AGI will be the most important technological development in human history, with the potential to shape the trajectory of humanity,” wrote OpenAI.
Of course, that’s exactly what the robots want.