July 23, 2019 - 15:27 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Microsoft has pumped $1bn into Silicon Valley’s most ambitious artificial intelligence research group in pursuit of the ultimate AI dream: a vast, artificial human brain that can run on Microsoft’s globe-spanning cloud computing system.
The cash infusion spells a new lease of life for OpenAI, which was set up four years ago by tech luminaries including Elon Musk and Peter Thiel out of a concern that AI would end up destroying the human race.
They wanted to win the race to full artificial general intelligence (AGI) — a system that can match, and eventually surpass, humans — in order to make sure it was used for good.
The project has been through a reorganisation this year, with Mr Musk no longer involved and Reid Hoffman, the venture capitalist and founder of LinkedIn, stepping in to become the biggest individual backer. With Microsoft’s money and Azure computing platform at its disposal, OpenAI hopes to have a shot at the goal it was set up for.
“We’re testing a hypothesis that has been there since the beginning of the field: that a neural network close to the size of the human brain can be trained to be an AGI,” said Greg Brockman, OpenAI’s chairman and co-founder. “If the hypothesis is true, the upside for humanity will be remarkable.”
Microsoft’s move to align itself with OpenAI echoes Google’s 2014 acquisition of DeepMind, the London-based AI research company that was also pursuing the human-level AI.