Microsoft Invests $1 Billion In Elon Musk’s Plans To Mimic The Human Brain


Image: Annunciation by artist Tom Estes

Microsoft has invested $1 billion in the Elon Musk-founded artificial intelligence venture that plans to mimic the human brain using computers.

The investment from Microsoft, signed early this month and announced on Monday, signals a new direction for Sam Altman’s research lab. He and his team of researchers hope to build artificial general intelligence, or A.G.I., a machine that can do anything the human brain can do.

“My goal in running OpenAI is to successfully create broadly beneficial A.G.I.,” Mr. Altman said in a recent interview. “And this partnership is the most important milestone so far on that path.”

Today’s AI systems are known as “narrow”, meaning they are capable of doing one task well. AGI, meanwhile, is seen as the holy grail of AI research, although many experts believe it will not be achieved for decades.

Mr. Altman’s 100-employee company recently built a system that could beat the world’s best players at a video game called Dota 2. Just a few years ago, this kind of thing did not seem possible.

Dota 2 is a game in which each player must navigate a complex, three-dimensional environment along with several other players, coordinating a careful balance between attack and defense. In other words, it requires old-fashioned teamwork, and that is a difficult skill for machines to master.

In recent years, a small but fervent community of artificial intelligence researchers have set their sights on A.G.I., and they are backed by some of the wealthiest companies in the world. DeepMind, a top lab owned by Google’s parent company, says it is chasing the same goal.

The US software company’s alliance with OpenAI, which is seen as one of the world’s leading AI labs, pits the two against Britain’s DeepMind, which is owned by Google.

Both labs are seeking to achieve artificial general intelligence (AGI), an AI similar to human consciousness that can adapt to different tasks.

About Art Selectronic

Art Selectronic is an artist-led initiative, that supports grass-roots contemporary art that remains unswayed by fashion, trends or the whims of government funding. The project involves ongoing research into the placing of contemporary art, it’s audiences and it’s relationship to the everyday. We place great emphasis on context. Our mission is to support new works of contemporary art and foster an audience from a wide range of backgrounds.
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