After bringing electric cars to the masses and taking people to Mars, Elon Musk’s next goal is to design a robot to do your chores.
Musk and some of the other leaders of the nonprofit artificial intelligence group Open AI jointly announced that they are “working to enable a physical robot … to perform basic housework.”
“We believe that learning algorithms can eventually be made reliable enough to create a general-purpose robot,” said in the blog post. It was signed by Musk as well as Sam Altman, the president of venture firm Y Combinator, and two staff members at Open AI. Musk is the CEO of both Tesla Motors ( and SpaceX. )
They hope to build a robot that can asked to perform a task by simply speaking to it. They also aim to have the robot ask for clarification if it doesn’t understand the request.
Despite their goal of developing such a robot, Musk and Altman are both on record as being concerned about the threat posed by machines with artificial intelligence. In a 2014 speech Musk called artificial intelligence “our biggest existential threat” and warned against “summoning the demon” through its development.
“Humanity’s position on this planet depends on its intelligence,” he told CNN late last year. “So if our intelligence is exceeded it’s unlikely that we will remain in charge of the planet.”
At a tech forum last fall Altman said “I think AI will …most likely lead to the end of the world. But in the meantime there will be great companies created with serious machine learning.”
Musk and Altman among the sponsors of Open AI because they want to monitor and participate in the advances in artificial intelligence, so it doesn’t become too great a threat. The nonprofit group’s stated goal 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.”
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