Coordinates: 42°22′25″N 71°06′35″W / 42.3736158°N 71.1097335°W
The Future of Life Institute (FLI) is a nonprofit research institute and outreach organization in the Boston area that works to mitigate existential risks facing humanity, particularly existential risk from advanced artificial intelligence (AI). Its founders include MIT cosmologist Max Tegmark and Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, and its board of advisors includes entrepreneur Elon Musk.
, professor at MIT
, one of the founders and current president of the Future of Life Institute
FLI's mission is to catalyze and support research and initiatives for safeguarding life and developing optimistic visions of the future, including positive ways for humanity to steer its course in response to new technologies and challenges. FLI is particularly focused on the potential risks to humanity from the development of human-level or superintelligent artificial general intelligence (AGI).
The Institute was founded in March 2014 by MIT cosmologist Max Tegmark, Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, Harvard graduate student and International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO) medalist Viktoriya Krakovna, Boston University graduate student Meia Chita-Tegmark (Tegmark's wife), and UCSC physicist Anthony Aguirre. The Institute's 14-person Scientific Advisory Board comprises 12 men and 2 women, and includes computer scientists Stuart J. Russell and Francesca Rossi, biologist George Church, cosmologist Saul Perlmutter, astrophysicist Sandra Faber, theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek, entrepreneur Elon Musk, and actors and science communicators Alan Alda and Morgan Freeman (as well as cosmologist Stephen Hawking prior to his death in 2018).
On May 24, 2014, the Future of Life Institute held its opening event at MIT: a panel discussion on "The Future of Technology: Benefits and Risks", moderated by Alan Alda. The panelists were synthetic biologist George Church, geneticist Ting Wu, economist Andrew McAfee, physicist and Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek and Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn. The discussion covered a broad range of topics from the future of bioengineering and personal genetics to autonomous weapons, AI ethics and the singularity.
On January 2-5, 2015, FLI organized "The Future of AI: Opportunities and Challenges" conference in Puerto Rico, which brought together the world's leading AI builders from academia and industry to engage with each other and experts in economics, law, and ethics. The goal was to identify promising research directions that can help maximize the future benefits of AI. The Institute circulated an open letter on AI safety at the conference which was subsequently signed by Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and many artificial intelligence experts.
On January 5-8, 2017, FLI organized the Beneficial AI conference in Asilomar, California, a private gathering of what The New York Times called "heavy hitters of A.I." (including Yann LeCun, Elon Musk, and Nick Bostrom). The institute released a set of principles for responsible AI development that came out of the discussion at the conference, signed by Yoshua Bengio, Yann LeCun, and many other AI researchers.
On January 4-7, 2019, FLI organized the Beneficial AGI conference in Puerto Rico. This meeting focused on long-term questions on ensuring that Artificial General Intelligence is beneficial to humanity.
Global research program
On January 15, 2015, the Future of Life Institute announced that Elon Musk had donated $10 million to fund a global AI research endeavor. On January 22, 2015, the FLI released a request for proposals from researchers in academic and other non-profit institutions. Unlike typical AI research, this program is focused on making AI safer or more beneficial to society, rather than just more powerful. On July 1, 2015, a total of $7 million was awarded to 37 research projects.
In the media