Elon Musk is just one of the names behind a new AI research company

Elon Musk

A new nonprofit company with some of the biggest names in tech behind it has one aim: to advance artificial intelligence for the common good.

Elon Musk (yeah, you know him) today took to Twitter today to herald OpenAI, "a nonprofit artificial intelligence research company," along with a link to the company's website.

"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," a OpenAI blog post effused.

In addition to Musk, OpenAI has the backing of a number of big Silicon Valley figures and is being led by machine learning expert and Google research scientist Ilya Sutskever. Musk will sit as co-chair of initiative alongside Y Combinator president Sam Altman.

The initiative has already gained $1 billion in funding from the likes of Altman and Musk, companies including Amazon Web Services and Infosys, as well as PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, among others.

Prioritizing the good

OpenAI hopes to fund research and collaborations as well as help with the deployment of new technologies, with a promise that if it does create patents, these will be shared "with the world." It will also encourage researchers to publish their work for others to utilize.

That all being said, the company doesn't know exactly what it will achieve, but it is confident in taking this approach to getting there.

While OpenAI is a champion of sorts for AI, it is wary of how digital artificial intelligence will be used, hence wanting to help drive it.

"It's hard to fathom how much human-level AI could benefit society, and it's equally hard to imagine how much it could damage society if built or used incorrectly," the website blog cautioned.

Musk has previously expressed concerns regarding the use and development of AI, and he signed an open letter earlier this year that calls for a ban on autonomous military weapons.

OpenAI's founders are keen to guide the development of AI, making sure it's used for good by becoming the leading AI research institution that prioritizes the welfare of all over its own financial gain.

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