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Elon Musk helps fund artificial-intelligence research so robots won’t kill us all

He's building cars and fearing the future.


Alex La Ferla


Posted on Jan 15, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 6:25 pm CDT

He may build next-generation cars and spaceships, but Elon Musk isn’t messing around when it comes to humanity-threatening artificial intelligence. On Thursday, the Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO donated $10 million to the fight against what he sees as an existential threat to civilization.

Musk’s donation went to an organization few have likely heard of: the Future of Life Institute.

“We are delighted to report that technology inventor Elon Musk, creator of Tesla and SpaceX, has decided to donate $10M to the Future of Life Institute to run a global research program aimed at keeping AI beneficial to humanity,” reads the release.

Musk is quoted as saying, “Here are all these leading AI researchers saying that AI safety is important. I agree with them, so I’m today committing $10M to support research aimed at keeping AI beneficial for humanity.”

Musk’s donation will help the institute fund research grants as well as meetings and outreach programs aimed at bringing together AI researchers, developers, and other relevant constituencies. The organization wants to “continue exploring how to maximize the societal benefits of AI.” 

News of Musk’s contribution surfaced after it emerged earlier this week that he and other prominent science and technology figures, including Stephen Hawking, had signed an open letter drafted by the Future of Life Institute that warned of the dangers of AI.

Killer robots are no laughing matter—unless you’re promoting a movie about the subject.

Photo via Maurizio Pesce/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Jan 15, 2015, 1:27 pm CST