Should We Be Worried About Artificial Intelligence? Elon Musk Is

OpenAI is a non-profit artificial intelligence research project.istock/muratsenel

From the Roomba to “The Terminator” and everything else in between, artificial intelligence is part of our modern world. Is it something to be embraced or should we be concerned about our growing reliance on AI?

Everyone and their brother and sister binge-watched the HBO television series, “Westworld” last year. And the year before that it was the British show “Humans.” While these fantasy worlds, in which robots gain consciousness, have captured our imaginations, we aren’t quite there yet in our own world. It is true that movies, books, and television shows have long visualized the arrival of artificial intelligence, but most of us are content with watching cats ride robot vacuum cleaners on YouTube.

But should we be concerned about the further development of artificial intelligence? Some are paying close attention. A new project spearheaded by Elon Musk, the Tesla creator and Sam Altman, founder of the startup incubator Y combinator, is laying the groundwork for thinking about artificial intelligence in a more thoughtful way.

OpenAI Taking a Closer Look at Artificial Intelligence

Founded in late 2015, OpenAI is a non-profit artificial intelligence research company with the mission to “build safe AI, and ensure AI’s benefits are as widely and evenly distributed as possible.” It’s a research company without the constraints of shareholders with a goal of making sure that the artificial intelligence that we create doesn’t drive the human race to extinction. So, not only are the rest of us fascinated by (or concerned with) robots taking over the world, but so are the very people who are designing the robots we are utilizing in our work and play.

And lest you think OpenAI is some kind of vanity project of very two wealthy and paranoid techies, there has already been more than one billion dollars pledged to the project from Peter Theil of Paypal, Reid Hoffman from LinkedIn, and from Amazon Web Services, among others.

The work of the OpenAI project is really only in its infancy. The first release from the project was a beta version of the OpenAI Gym toolkit back in April 2016. The OpenAI Gym is a bundled software release that was built to help move the work of the project along and in keeping true to the openness of the project, it was released publicly. The latest release is called Universe and is another tool designed to help developers create a better framework for understanding artificial intelligence.

Intrigued? While you are waiting for season two of “Westworld,” head on over to the OpenAI Blog to read more about the ideas behind and the latest news about this compelling project.

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Jen Wallace

Jen Wallace shares her indie life by writing about making, creating, cooking, learning, playing, decorating, and pretty much anything else that strikes her fancy from indie biz tips to the modern history of the American hemline.