1 July 2015
The Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University and the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at Cambridge University are to receive a £1m grant for policy and technical research into the development of machine intelligence.
The grant is from the Future of Life Institute in Boston, USA, and has been funded by the Open Philanthropy Project and Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors and Space X.
This grant will allow Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute, part of the Oxford Martin School and Faculty of Philosophy at the University, to become the world’s largest research institute working on technical and policy responses to the long-term prospect of smarter-than-human artificial intelligence.
This growth follows the Institute Director Professor Nick Bostrom’s bestselling book “Superintelligence”, which was endorsed by both Elon Musk and Bill Gates.
Professor Bostrom said: ‘There has much talk recently about the future of AI. Elon - characteristically - decided to actually do something about it. This grant will enable Oxford to expand its research in this area, forming the largest group in the world of computer scientists, mathematicians, philosophers, and policy analysts working together to ensure to that advances in machine intelligence will benefit all of society.’
The funding is part of an international grant programme dedicated to “keeping AI robust and beneficial”, which today awarded nearly $7m. The programme had nearly 300 applicants this round, which were subject to a thorough academic review process. The joint Oxford-Cambridge research centre will be the programme’s largest grant. Three other Oxford-based projects also received funding.
Andrew Snyder-Beattie of the Future of Humanity Institute said: "The joint centre between Oxford and Cambridge Universities will allow a team of computer scientists, mathematicians, philosophers, and policy analysts to collaborate and help ensure that advances in machine intelligence will benefit all of society."
Cecilia Tilli of the Future of Humanity Institute said, "The fact that over 300 applicants around the world applied for this round of grants suggests rapidly growing interest in this area of research, which is enabling policy analysts to engage in the field for the first time."
Andrew Snyder-Beattie, Future of Humanity Institute
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University News Office
About the Future of Humanity Institute:
The Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford is a leading multidisciplinary research centre looking at big-picture questions for human civilization. Using the tools of mathematics, philosophy, and science, the Institute explores the risks and opportunities that will arise from technological change, weighs ethical dilemmas, and evaluates global priorities, with the goal of clarifying the choices that will shape humanity’s long-term future. The Future of Humanity Institute is part of the Faculty of Philosophy and is associated with the Oxford Martin School. The Future of Humanity Institute currently has positions open to hire computer science and machine learning researchers and policy analysts.