In the biggest donation by far for the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI), $1,006,549 worth of ethereum was sent on the 30th of May by a cryptocurrency investor, according to an announcement by MIRI.
“This is the single largest contribution we have received to date by a large margin, and will have a substantial effect on our plans over the coming year,” MIRI said.
The donation was made by a long time supporter who chooses to remain anonymous, according to MIRI, with another ethereumer, Eric Rogstad, sending approximately $22,000 worth of eth, making the first half of the year “the most successful in MIRI’s fundraising history.”
The $1 million donation “covers nearly half of our current annual budget,” Malo Bourgon from MIRI said, with the institute now more confident in their ability to follow outlined research plans and roadmaps.
Formerly known as the Singularity Institute, MIRI was founded by Eliezer Yudkowsky to “help humanity prepare for the moment when machine intelligence exceeded human intelligence.”
Their research focuses on high level questions, such as “what can (and can’t) we predict about future AI technology? How can we improve our forecasting ability? Which interventions available today appear to be the most beneficial, given what little we do know?” – according to Wikipedia.
In this space, they may be better known through their Less Wrong website, a gathering place where individuals try to scientifically answer some very big questions, but usually without much academic rigor even though most of the participants are scientists of sorts.
Some that make part of the digital currencies pre-blockchain history have contributed, with MIRI clearly having big fans in the ethereum community as shown by the above donations.
That may be because ethereum might contribute to artificial intelligence in that it gives machines the ability to handle and transfer value in an autonomous manner without requiring any permission from any third party so being limited only by the written code.
However, actual thinking machines are probably a very long term thing in the scale of centuries, but what we are seeing is a very, very, primitive level of intelligence through the combination of advances in a number of new technologies.
In particular, sensors give machines the ability to “feel,” while wireless technology gives them the ability to interact, with data algorithms giving them some ability to make decisions, while blockchain technology allows them, for the first time in history, to autonomously transfer value without human involvement.
They, of course, operate solely based on the code we’ve written which tells them what to do, how and why, not much different than turning on or off a light obeys the movements of our hands.
But it does have its own challenges as the field of Internet of Things (IoT) has shown. So we might start receiving a lot more research to better understand the advantages and disadvantages of what may be a very near future that some are calling a fourth industrial revolution.