It is a powerful message of hope that tech leaders are investing a large amount of money in an open Artificial Intelligence project to serve humanity.It could literally save the world in the future, if it is ethically constructed and serves the global community in a just way.
That is a big “If”.
Elon Musk aims to develop the AI in a safe way and share its research widely. That isn’t enough. Technical expertise isn’t enough. Although this project, in its conception, conforms to the best guiding principles of the internet, these principles need to be stated. There needs first up, an agreed set of guiding principles for the project, and a statement of what it is going to achieve, as well as how it aims to get there.
The strong impression gained is that the project is at first going to be purely technical, which is a dangerous road already travelled by private AIs now being developed for commercial reasons. This public good transparent AI needs to be different. It needs to state its ethics from the get-go.
As a multidisciplinary researcher based in a computer science department when the internet took off, I saw the need to state the global principles that were guiding it. These are listed in my blog.
My work since has focussed on how to integrate global principles, the internet and its potential, with a global AI and an integrated optimal plan for the world and its species. It is our shared positive future.
This project needs the input of public good intellectuals who understand the internet and its potential. It needs a global perspective and a discussion about what the AI can achieve, that will run alongside the technical challenges of establishing new databases and analytics, alongside using existing ones.
My advice is: Start big. Start bold. And most importantly, start the ethics discussion. This is possibly the hardest part for technical people, yet it is of critical importance.