5 things you should know about the plan to open source artificial intelligence

5 things you should know about the plan to open source artificial intelligence

Arguably, the open source movement — the idea that a group of technologists freely contributing their own work and commenting on the work of others, can create a final product that is comparable with anything that a commercial enterprise might create — has been one of the great innovation catalysts of the technology industry.

It’s no wonder, then, that a group of Silicon Valley luminaries — including Elon Musk, Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman — have lined up to contribute $1 billion to a new open-source AI project known as OpenAI that is led by Ilya Sutskever, one of the world’s top experts in machine learning. If you can open-source software and hardware, then why not open-source artificial intelligence, right?

1. What exactly are they going to do with that $1 billion?

For now, we don’t really know. The OpenAI website is basically just a single blog post outlining the organization’s manifesto and an “About” page detailing all the technologists and engineers working on the project. Thus far, we only have a long announcement from the founding members that they are going to do something amazing. Throw in some of the biggest tech names in the AI industry and the magic $1 billon number, though, and it’s easy to see why it has a lot of buzz.

The basic idea is that OpenAI, which will be structured as a nonprofit research company, will work on AI innovations that benefit humanity: “Our goal is to advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, unconstrained by a need to generate financial return.” But even the founders admit that only a “tiny fraction” of the $1 billion is going to be spent in the next few years.

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