Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, doesn’t trust artificial intelligence, which he once likened to “summoning the demon.”
In fact, Musk distrusts it so much that, in January, he donated $US10 million to the Future of Life Institute (FLI) to fund a program with the goal of making sure AI doesn’t completely overrun our ability to regulate it and end up destroying us all.
Now some of that $US10 million will be doled out in grants to 37 research projects around the world, according to Bloomberg. The $US7 million FLI will distribute came from Musk’s donation and a $US1.2 million award from the Open Philanthropy Project.
“There is this race going on between the growing power of the technology and the growing wisdom with which we manage it,” FLI president Max Tegmark told Bloomberg. “So far all the investments have been about making the systems more intelligent, this is the first time there’s been an investment in the other.”
How exactly will these projects accomplish that? They all take pieces of the puzzle. Three of the projects, at places like UC Berkeley and Oxford, will help AI systems learn what humans want by observing how we act, Android Authority reported. Two other projects focus on developing an ethical system for AI, and relatedly, teaching AI to explain its decisions to us.
Some of the projects also feel more immediate. One project seeks to establish a framework for keeping AI-powered weapons under “meaningful human control,” according to Android Authority. This is particularly relevant as advanced drone technology allows the US Navy to test things like autonomous ships to hunt enemy submarines.