Tesla's Elon Musk Donates $14 Million To Keep Artificial Intelligence 'Beneficial'

Jan 16, 2015 11:06 AM EST | Jordan Ecarma

Elon Musk is putting his money where his robot-fearing mouth is with a $10 million donation to the nonprofit Future of Life Institute, which researches safety issues related to artificial intelligence.

The founder of Tesla Motors and SpaceX has described AI technology as "summoning the demon," but he didn't mention dark forces in his statement about the donation.

"Here are all these leading AI researchers saying that AI safety is important," Musk said in a Future of Life Institute press release. "I agree with them, so I'm today committing $10 million to support research aimed at keeping AI beneficial for humanity." 

The funding will be used worldwide through an open grants competition, which will match the money to AI researchers. Some of the funds will also go to AI-related research in areas including economics, law, ethics and policy.

Considering the increasingly intelligent technology used in cars, Musk isn't too far off in calling AI a potential danger. Over the summer, the FBI warned that cars could become much more dangerous due to autonomous technology.

"Autonomy ... will make mobility more efficient, but will also open up greater possibilities for dual-use applications and ways for a car to be more of a potential lethal weapon that it is today," the agency said in a report obtained by the Guardian.

Of course, the FBI was referring to criminals or terrorists using self-driving cars, but autonomous technology does pose a risk that a traditional car doesn't since it could--theoretically--take you somewhere you really don't want to go.  

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