Microsoft co-founder Allen investing $125 million to ‘add common sense’ to AI


Microsoft co-founder Paul G. Allen has announced $125 million to support the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence (AI2) in its research to add common sense to AI via Project Alexandria and fund existing projects.

Project Alexandria will integrate knowledge developed in machine reading and reasoning (Project Aristo), natural language and understanding (Project Euclid), and computer vision (Project Plato) to create a fresh, unified and extensive knowledge source. Afterwards, this knowledge source can be used as a foundation for future AI systems to build upon.

Over the next three years, AI2 will work towards bringing in standard measurements for the common sense abilities of an AI system; formulating novel crowdsourcing methods to gain common sense knowledge from individuals at an unprecedented scale; and formulating applications that make use of common sense to enhance performance for a wide range of practical AI challenges, from machine reading to robotic vision. Adding common sense to AI is seen as a challenging task that requires several years of research and numerous checkpoints.

Allen commented: “Early in AI research, there was a great deal of focus on common sense, but that work stalled. AI still lacks what most 10-year-olds possess: ordinary common sense. We want to jump start that research to achieve major breakthroughs in the field.”

He added: “This is an extremely complicated challenge. If we want AI to approach human abilities and have the broadest possible impact in research, medicine and business, we need to fundamentally advance AI’s common sense abilities.”

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