Elon Musk Leaves AI Ethics Group's Board as Tesla Revs Up its AI Game

By Tom Pritchard on at

It's no secret that Elon Musk is wary of artificial intelligence. The fact that he co-founded a research group devoted to developing AI responsibly, without the goal of generating profit, should make that very clear. But now Musk has vacated his position on OpenAI's board, and it's down to the fact Tesla is focussing more and more on AI.

A blog post on OpenAI's website confirms Musk's departure, which took place to avoid any sort of conflict of interest as Tesla spends more time and effort developing AI systems for its cars. Despite this, OpenAI has confirmed Musk will continue to donate money and advise the organisation as it continues its work.

Presumably Tesla's AI ambitions won't involve irresponsible use of the technology, not with everything Musk has been saying over the past few years. But as cars move towards a driver-free future, there doesn't seem to be a way of avoiding it, which is likely why Musk and the rest of OpenAI came to this decision.

Musk himself has been critical of AI research in the past, having spoken out against the use of autonomous military robots and warned that robots are coming to steal all our jobs. Even if he seems to have calmed down a bit in recent years, who can forget the time he claimed we were only ten years away from rogue AIs making their way into the internet and wiping out humanity?

That's where OpenAI came from, with the goal of making sure AI benefits humanity, rather than destroys it, and has promised that it will " articulate the principles with which [it will] be approaching the next phase of OpenAI". That will involve addressing the policy areas that need changing if we want artificial intelligence to have the most positive impact. It's a never ending job, whether Musk is directly involved or not. [OpenAI via BBC News]

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