The concept of "artificial intelligence with a purpose" will start attracting a lot of money and attention in 2017.

A group of private investors, including LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, just launched a $27 million research fund, called the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund. The group's initiative is to foster the development of artificial intelligence for social good by approaching technological developments with input from a diverse set of viewpoints, such as policymakers, faith leaders, and economists.

The fund is just part of an answer to growing concerns from the White House and the business world of how technology will shape the future.

"Artificial intelligence and complex algorithms in general, fueled by big data and deep-learning systems, are quickly changing how we live and work--from the news stories we see, to the loans for which we qualify, to the jobs we perform," reads a statement from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a nonprofit that committed $5 million to the fund.

The group hopes more investors will come on board. Hoffman and Omidyar each contributed $10 million to the fund. The education, environment, and performing arts-focused William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Jim Pallotta, founder of financial services firm Raptor Group, each contributed $1 million.

Published on: Jan 10, 2017