The investment will go to multiple projects at the Allen Institute for Technology, or AI2, the Seattle-based nonprofit. Paul Allen puts a premium on common sense – so much so that he’s investing $125 million to teach it to computers.

The Microsoft co-founder said Wednesday he would commit the money over the next three years to the Seattle-based Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, known as AI2. The funds will go toward multiple AI2 projects, but specifically will be used for the new “Project Alexandria” that will try to bring together various technology elements used in artificial intelligence, with the goal of creating a system imbued with good sense and judgment.

Currently, AI systems can scan and “read” text, interpret some pictures and play board games. But they can’t react to unexpected situations or tell you, say,  which way water would flow on a hill.

In some ways, an AI system is smarter than the average child – it can read and store massive amounts of scientific research, for example. But it’s lacking the common sense that most children have, Allen said in a statement.

“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,” he said. This project won’t be something that is perfected and sold within a couple years, said AI2 CEO Oren Etzioni. Read more from…

thumbnail courtesy of