OpenAI today announced the creation of OpenAI LP, a for-profit company that will be owned and controlled by the OpenAI nonprofit organization’s board of directors. The new Delaware-based limited partnership was created to speed progress toward OpenAI’s goal of advancing AI and eventually creating safe artificial general intelligence (AGI) system. OpenAI LP plans to raise and invest billions of dollars in the years ahead.
Unlike narrow artificial intelligence common today, which can predict the probability of outcomes or recommend content in your Facebook News Feed, OpenAI defines AGI as a highly autonomous system able to outperform humans at most tasks.
Sam Altman will serve as CEO of the new entity, while Greg Brockman will act as CTO and Ilya Sutskever as chief scientist. Brockman will also serve as chair of the OpenAI nonprofit’s board of directors.
The news comes days after Altman stepped down as president of Y Combinator to focus on work at OpenAI.
The OpenAI nonprofit organization was created in 2015 to ensure AI benefits humanity with $1 billion in donations from names like Elon Musk, LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman, and YC Research.
“We’ve experienced firsthand that the most dramatic AI systems use the most computational power in addition to algorithmic innovations, and decided to scale much faster than we’d planned when starting OpenAI,” the blog post reads. “We’ll need to invest billions of dollars in upcoming years into large-scale cloud compute, attracting and retaining talented people, and building AI supercomputers.”
Initial investors in OpenAI LP include Reid Hoffman’s charitable organization and Khosla Ventures.
Each limited partner investor deal will come with caps negotiated in advance, the company explained in a blog post today. Returns for first investors will be capped at 100 times their investment. Excess returns will go to the coffers of the OpenAI nonprofit.
“Today, we believe we can build the most value by focusing exclusively on developing new AI technologies, not commercial products. Our structure gives us flexibility for how to create a return in the long term, but we hope to figure that out only once we’ve created safe AGI,” the blog post continued.
Day-to-day operations should remain roughly the same, with OpenAI LP focusing on the organization’s development roadmap for creation of advanced AI systems as well as safety and policy work related to those systems. OpenAI’s nonprofit arm will continue to focus on educational programs and policy initiatives.
AGI does not yet exist, but OpenAI is worried that its development will become a competition in which little regard is made for safety. Per the organization’s original charter, should any company figure out how to create AGI before OpenAI, it will seek to join forces with them rather than continue to compete.
OpenAI LP currently has about 100 employees. OpenAI LP will not include input from Elon Musk, who left the OpenAI nonprofit board in February 2018.
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