The Future of Humanity Institute, part of the Oxford Martin School, 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, which was set up by the Oxford Martin School in 2005, 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, titled the Strategic Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, will be the programme’s largest grant. Three other Oxford-based projects also received funding, including two more to the Future of Humanity Insitute, to Dr Owen Cotton-Barrett and Owain Evans.
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.'
The Future of Humanity Institute was one of the Oxford Martin's School first research programmes. Professor Nick Bostrom is one of the School's longest-standing experts and the School has also funded the Institute's Future Impacts of Technology programme.