Silicon Valley Investors Push Artificial-Intelligence Research Center

Select Silicon Valley investors and allied technology companies revealed Friday they are set to establish an artificial-intelligence research center to develop what they referred to as “digital intelligence,” to “benefit humanity.”

The organization which is to be named OpenAI, will be set up as a nonprofit and will be based in San Francisco.

The investors include Reid Hoffman, Peter Thiel and Elon Musk, who say they plan to pump in $1 billion to this project in the long term, even though they would initially spend only a fraction in the initial years. According to Mr. Musk, “Everyone who is listed as a contributor has made a substantial commitment and this should be viewed as at least a billion-dollar project.”

Other backers of the project include Jessica Livingston of Y Combinator, Greg Brockman, who is a former chief technology officer of Stripe, as well as Amazon Web Services, Amazon’s Cloud Services subsidiary. Others include Infosys, an Indian software consulting and consulting firm, while the research effort has also attracted a group of young artificial intelligence researchers.

The overall aim of the project would be to create an “artificial general intelligence,” a machine capable of performing any intellectual task that a human being can, according to Mr. Musk.

He also said that he has had longstanding concerns about the possibility that artificial intelligence could be used to create machines that might turn on humanity.