AI News, Elon Musk, Silicon Valley Elite Launch 'Open' Artificial Intelligence ... artificial intelligence

Elon Musk has poached a top mind in AI research—from himself

The 30-year-old researcher has published half a dozen papers with Fei-Fei Li, head of Stanford’s computer vision lab and recently chief scientist of Google’s Cloud machine learning team, as well as at least two other papers with Google’s former AI head, Andrew Ng.

(We’ve contacted Karpathy to ask for more information on his new position.) At Tesla, Karpathy expects to work on applying proven image recognition algorithms to the company’s fleet of cars, rather than inventing new algorithms and techniques for the cars to understand their surroundings, according to a Reddit post yesterday from Karpathy’s account.

Among Karpathy’s other sidelines, he also maintains the popular ArXiv Sanity Preserver, a website dedicated to curating the increasing slew of research papers posted on the public server ArXiv, which is often used by companies like Google, Facebook, and OpenAI to share their work with other researchers and the world.

While a young gun snagging a top position in the country’s most valuable car company is notable in itself, the news of this appointment also shows that Musk has established a pipeline for Tesla to grab some of the AI industry’s top talent from OpenAI.

As Concern Grows, Another Philanthropy-Backed AI Watchdog Launches

It’s been remarkable to see the risks of artificial intelligence go from a punchline on a tech blog to a widely accepted concern in a little over a year.

Chalk up part of the rising concern to increased awareness of just how quietly pervasive algorithms and their potential negative impacts are—for example, in the form of Facebook opaquely determining what political news we see.

Just to keep all these straight, here’s a rundown of recent AI watchdog and public interest initiatives, backed at least in part by philanthropy: And now we have the new initiative, which has the largest pool of funds we’ve seen so far for this kind of watchdog/public interest project, including backing from some huge tech and philanthropic names, and some elite universities.

Another promising aspect of this new initiative is the fact that funding is coming from multiple sources, housed at the Miami Foundation and drawing from a list of supporters that will very likely grow.

Silicon Valley luminaries are busily preparing for when robots take over

Until a couple of years ago, Antonio Garcia Martinez was living the dream life: a tech-start up guy in Silicon Valley, surrounded by hip young millionaires and open plan offices.  He'd sold his online ad company to Twitter for a small fortune, and was working as a senior exec at Facebook (an experience he wrote up in his best-selling book, Chaos Monkeys).

But at some point in 2015, he looked into the not-too-distant future and saw a very bleak world, one that was nothing like the polished utopia of connectivity and total information promised by his colleagues.  'I’ve seen what’s coming,' he told me when I visited him recently for BBC Two’s Secrets of Silicon Valley.

He thinks it’s developing much faster than people outside Silicon Valley realize, and we’re on the cusp of another industrial revolution that will rip through the economy and destroy millions of jobs.  'Every time I meet someone from outside Silicon Valley – a normy – I can think of 10 companies that are working madly to put that person out of a job.'

He now lives most of his life on a small Island called Orcas off the coast of Washington State, on five Walt Whitman acres that are only accessible by 4x4 via a bumpy dirt path that just about cuts through densely packed trees.  Instead of gleaming glass buildings and tastefully exposed brick, his new arrangements include: a tepee, a building plot, some guns, 5.56mm rounds, a compost toilet, a generator, wires, and soon-to-be-installed solar panels.

Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn and influential investor, told The New Yorker earlier this year that around half of all Silicon Valley billionaires have some degree of ‘apocalypse insurance.’ Pay-Pal co-founder and influential venture capitalist Peter Thiel recently bought a 477-acre bolthole in New Zealand, and became a kiwi national to boot.  Others are getting together in secret Facebook groups to discuss survivalism tactics: helicopters, bomb-proofing, gold.

It relies on data to improve, which creates a powerful feedback loop: more data fed in makes it smarter, which allows it to make more sense of any new data, which makes it smarter, and on and on and on.  Antonio thinks we’re entering into this sort of feedback loop.

might have both covered.  Machine learning can, for example, already outperform the best doctors at diagnosing illness from CT scans, by running through millions of correct and thousands of incorrect examples real life doctors have produced over the years.

This has had particularly promising results when training ‘neural networks’ (networks of artificial neurons that behave a little like real ones), using an approach called ‘deep learning.’  Recently, some neural network chatbots from Facebook were revealed to have gone rogue and invented their own language, before researchers shut them off.

We’ve always found new jobs, and new ways to entertain ourselves.  Around half of all Silicon Valley billionaires have some degree of ‘apocalypse insurance.’ Let's not forget the wonders of A.I., such as dramatically improving how doctors diagnose, which will certainly save lives.

I found one mention of artificial intelligence in the 2017 party manifestos.  When asked recently about the future of artificial intelligence and automation, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin replied that ‘it’s not even on our radar screen’ and that he’s ‘not worried at all’.

 A couple of months back his boss climbed into a huge rig wearing an “I love trucks” badge, just as nearly everyone in Silicon Valley agreed that the industry was about to be decimated.  Antonio told me in the race between technology and politics the technologists are winning.

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