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Non-profit research company, OpenAI, backed by Elon Musk, Sam Altman

By Marilyn Malara
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Non-profit research company, OpenAI, backed by Elon Musk, Sam Altman
OpenAI, a non-profit artificial intelligence research company, was launched Friday. Its stated goal is to conduct responsible research outside from capital gain in order to promote the belief AI "AI should be an extension of individual human wills and, in the spirit of liberty, as broadly and evenly distributed as is possible safely."

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- OpenAI, a non-profit artificial intelligence company, introduced itself to the world Friday after raising $1 billion in starting capital.

The institution, which aims to research and develop artificial intelligence for the betterment of humanity, is co-chaired by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who famously referred to unchecked development of artificial intelligence as "summoning the demon," and Y Combinator CEO Sam Altman.

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Other backers include new CTO Greg Brockman, Reid Hoffman, Jessica Livingston, Peter Thiel, Amazon Web Services, Infosys and YC Research.

"Since our research is free from financial obligations, we can better focus on a positive human impact," the company's first blog post explains. "We believe AI should be an extension of individual human wills and, in the spirit of liberty, as broadly and evenly distributed as is possible safely."

The launch of OpenAI comes directly after Facebook open-sourced the designs for Big Sur, a server that runs artificial intelligence algorithms, and about a month after Google made Tensorflow, its "deep learning" AI software, open source.

"One of the nice things about our structure is that because there is no fiduciary duty, we can collaborate with anyone," co-chair Altman told Fast Company. OpenAI asserts that despite its $1 billion grant so far, the next few years of research will only cost a "small fraction" of the sum.

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