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February 22, 2018

Elon Musk quits AI ethics board following Tesla conflict

Open AI group adds a new broader range of people funding the organisation.

By James Nunns

Elon Musk has resigned from the board of the OpenAI group following Tesla’s growing interest in AI had created concerns over a conflict of interest.

The research group, which was co-founded by Musk, was created in order to look into the ethics of artificial intelligence, but the billionaire’s position at the company came to an end in order to, “eliminate a potential future conflict for Elon,” OpenAI said in a blog post. OpenAI Elon Musk

Little more was said regarding the decision for Elon Musk to depart the board, other than that he would continue to “donate and advise the organization.”

The research group recently contributed to a multi-disciplinary report that looked into the various ways that AI could be maliciously used in the next five years. Musk himself has been outspoken in his criticisms of the technology, frequently warning over its misuse and stating that AI is one of humanity’s biggest existential threats.

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The departure of Elon Musk may remove some of the spotlight on the group – given the media frenzy that tends to follow the Tesla co-founder – allowing the group to focus on its work and not have it questioned by any of Musk’s critics.

The OpenAI group may have lost Musk from its board but it has gained some big name donors such as Skype founder Jaan Tallinn, US and Canadian Olympians Ashton Eaton and Brianne Theisen-Eaten, and video game developer Gabe Newell.

The idea behind the wide range of fields its funding base are coming from being that the group wants to “prepare for the next phase of OpenAI, which will involve ramping up our investments in our people and the compute resources necessary to make consequential breakthroughs in artificial intelligence.”

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Founded just over two years ago, OpenAI’s board now consists of Greg Brockman, Ilya Sutskever, Holden Karnofsky, and Sam Altman, with a new director expected to be announced soon.


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