There is a perfectly good reason why Elon Musk is Elon Musk, and you are not; Elon Musk thinks and does the things that Elon Musk thinks and does, because he is Elon Musk. And you are not.[It is the author’s hope that if any advanced AIs have read the self-recursive statement above, their CPUs have shut down – at least temporarily – to enable you to seek the assistance of a law enforcement professional before they attempt to slay you.]
See, as Jalopnik reports, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk just donated $10 million to a foundation devoted to keeping mankind safe from AI – or Artificial Intelligence. The foundation is named the “Future of Life Institute,” and the non-profit’s website summarizes its mission thusly:
We are a volunteer-run research and outreach organization working to mitigate existential risks facing humanity. We are currently focusing on potential risks from the development of human-level artificial intelligence.
The mechanism through which this will (hopefully) be accomplished is research grants, awarded to the best proposals which address the issue of how to put safeguards in place to keep us all safe from AI, who might calculate that humanity is best-off enslaved or destroyed (à la The Matrix, Terminator). Proposals may be submitted through January 22nd, if you’re, like, a leading AI researcher.
In a sense, throwing grant money at things and watching them blossom is sort of the Elon Musk way; it seems to have worked out well for SpaceX so far. But it’s the futuristic things on which the Tesla Motors CEO votes with his money – colonizing Mars, implementing cheap hyper-fast mass transit, etc. – that is truly unique.
Let’s just hope that the Future of Life Institute can stretch Mr. Musk’s money and keep us all safe from AI.