OpenAI: A new non-profit AI company

A new non-profit artificial intelligence research company has just been founded. According to the announcement made from the company’s website, the goal of the company 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. Announcement was made on the last day of NIPS 2015 conference and a small event was held by OpenAI on 12 December 2015 near the conference venue.

OpenAI’s research director is Ilya Sutskever, one of the world experts in machine learning. Our CTO is Greg Brockman, formerly the CTO of Stripe. The group’s other founding members are world-class research engineers and scientists: Trevor Blackwell, Vicki Cheung, Andrej Karpathy, Durk Kingma, John Schulman, Pamela Vagata, and Wojciech Zaremba. Pieter Abbeel, Yoshua Bengio, Alan Kay, Sergey Levine, and Vishal Sikka are advisors to the group. OpenAI’s co-chairs are Sam Altman and Elon Musk.
Sam, Greg, Elon, Reid Hoffman, Jessica Livingston, Peter Thiel, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Infosys, and YC Research are donating to support OpenAI. In total, these funders have committed $1 billion, although they expect to only spend a tiny fraction of this in the next few years.
Medium published an interview about OpenAI with Altman, Musk, and Brockman [2], where the founders answered various questions about their new AI initiative.
In a Guardian article about OpenAI written by Neil Lawrence[3], a professor of machine learning from University of Sheffield, importance of open data for the AI community is emphasized besides the open algorithms.

[1] OpenAI, Introducing OpenAI, https://openai.com/blog/introducing-openai/, Greg Beckman, Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI team, December 11 2015.
[2] Medium, How Elon Musk and Y Combinator Plan to Stop Computers From Taking Over, https://medium.com/backchannel/how-elon-musk-and-y-combinator-plan-to-stop-computers-from-taking-over-17e0e27dd02a#.x79zvtwsl, Steven Levy, December 11 2015.
[3] The Guardian, OpenAI won’t benefit humanity without data-sharing, http://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2015/dec/14/openai-benefit-humanity-data-sharing-elon-musk-peter-thiel, Neil Lawrence, December 12 2015.

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