Musk Donates $7 Million to Future of Life Institute for AI Risk Research

It is no secret that Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, PayPal and SpaceX, as well as other people, is concerned where the current unsupervised and at times reckless efforts in AI will lead us. Maybe we won’t see an evil Google robot army, by choice or accident, but there is a risk that something could go wrong when we teach our machines too much.

Musk recently donated $7 million to Future of Life Institute (FLI) for its research on the risk of artificial intelligence. FLI is an organisation that is working on discovering any dangers or threats that artificial intelligence may pose. This isn’t the first time Musk backed this research, the last time being in January where he gave $10 million.

The $7 million will be used to help fund 37 project proposals from 300 previously reviewed proposals. According to Max Tegmark, the president of the Future Life Institute, the research they approved, and will be conducting, are concerned on real issues. These include economic impact, job impact and even ethical problems.

“We’re staying focused, and the 37 teams supported by today’s grants should help solve such real issues,” Tegmark stated.

The complete list with all 37 proposals can be viewed on FLI’s website and include studies such as how an AI will consider their human counterparts to how to keep AI weaponry under human control.

Thank Tou iDigitalTimes for providing us with this information

Apple Raised $20 Million For (Product) RED

In an e-mail to employees, (seen by Re/code) Tim Cook said that the company had raised a total of $20 million for AIDS charity (Product) RED.

Apple had a massive campaign for the charity centred around World AIDS Day in November. The App Store was taken over by (RED) (literally) with a countless number of high profile apps donating all or some of their earnings to the effort. For World AIDS Day itself, a percentage of all profits made by Apple on all products sold on its online store was donated to (RED).

“I’m thrilled to announce that our total donation for this quarter will be more than $20 million — our biggest ever — bringing the total amount Apple has raised for (PRODUCT) RED to over $100 million,” Cook wrote. “The money we’ve raised is saving lives and bringing hope to people in need. It’s a cause we can all be proud to support.”

The money raised during this campaign brings a total donation of $95 million over the period that Apple has supported (RED).

Source: Re/code Via: MacRumors 

Apple Lights up Stores in Red

Apple has begun lighting up its logo in red at stores across the world, in anticipation of World AIDS Day tomorrow (Monday). The first store to get the red treatment is in Sydney, Australia, with more to follow in key locations across Europe, Asia and the United States.

Apple has gone (RED) crazy this week, filling its App Store with apps that contribute all or part of their earnings to the charitable fund, while Apple will donate a part of the earnings from literally every single product sold on the Apple Online Store or in their retail stores to AIDS charities on Monday.

“(RED) and the global health community have reached a critical turning point in the fight against AIDS in Africa. Together, they’re getting closer to delivering the first generation in over 30 years to be born free from the disease. The purchases you make during our holiday shopping events and through Apps for (RED) can create a lasting impact on the future of millions.”

Apple is the largest contributor to Product (RED), the charitable brand created by Bono and Bobby Sriver in 2006. So far the company has donated over $75 million, more so than anyone else.

Source: Mashable 

Apple and Developers Release Special (RED) Apps

Apple and a number of its high profile App Store developers have released special apps in support of AIDS charity (RED).

Apple itself has released an updated (RED) version of GarageBand on iOS, informing users that by buying the app’s musical loops pack, 100% of the proceeds will go towards (RED)’s efforts to fight TB, Malaria and AIDS. The app also has a new (RED) themed icon, seen above.

A number of high profile third party apps and games have also joined in, with popular game Monument Valley adding a special (RED) level and with drawing app Paper also throwing in a (RED) icon and theme.

(RED) is a charity created with the intention of getting companies to release specially themed products with which the proceeds are donated to the fight against HIV/AIDS. Apple is the charity’s biggest contributor, donating over $60 million.

Source: 9to5Mac

Google Donating $10 Million to Fight Ebola

Larry Page, CEO of Google, announced today that the company has donated $10 million to a variety of charities in the fight against the Ebola outbreak. Google says they have shared the money between “InSTEDD, International Rescue Committee, Medecins Sans Frontieres, NetHope, Partners in Health, Save the Children and U.S. Fund for UNICEF” among others.

As well as giving the $10 million, Google has set up a public giving campaign, in which the company will donate $2 for every $1 donated. This will continue until an additional $7.5 million is raised. All money donated will go to charity, as Google has promised to cover the costs of processing fees for donations. Larry Page’s family foundation is also donating another $15 million to the effort, bringing a total of $25 million to go towards fighting the deadly disease.

The news comes as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced last week that he will also be donating $25 million to the effort.

Source: 9to5Google

Charlie Sheen does the Ice Bucket Challenge and Its Brilliant

So another day and another “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge”, this time its Charlie sheen doing what he does best, Winning. We all know he doesn’t play by the rules and this is no exception.


It seems Charlie has decided to do something that the other celebs haven’t and put his money where his mouth is. Ryan Miller, a professional hockey player, nominated him and Charlie certainly upped his game. Charlie didn’t use water, but he certainly made it rain!

“Oh wait, that’s not ice,” says Sheen in the clip. “That’s $10,000 in cash, which I am donating to the ALS foundation.”

Its good to see Charlie doing something positive, it seems every other time he has been in the press it’s not been pretty, resulting in being sacked from Two and a Half men by Chuck Lorre, the creator of the show. Jon Cryer took over Charlies role in the show and there was certainly some bad blood between the 3 of them. Another feud that was publically aired was with Ashton Kutcher, Charlie said he would put Ashton in hospital after he told him to “shut the f**ck up”. Coincidently, these are the 3 celebs who Charlie has nominated to identically do what he did. Lets hope that all 3 of them do the challenge and also nominate others. This could really bring in the big bucks and raise some money for a good cause!

Thanks to TMZ for supplying us with this information.

Wikipedia Scores $140.000 in Bitcoin Donations

Just over a week ago, Wikipedia announced that it would now be accepting donations in form of bitcoins. The first week of of the new donation system is over and according to Coinbase, Wikipedia made a solid $140.000 worth of donations in bitcoin during that time.

“The news as suggest the staying power of digital currency donations, owing to the combination of tax benefits and transaction cost savings.”  said CoinDesk, a publication that tracks digital currencies.

Wikipedia itself doesn’t plan to keep the donated bitcoins, but rather convert them into dollars as they get them. Having raised 19.7 million in overall donations last year, the new 140 thousand doesn’t sound like much. But considering that they got it in just one week, makes the whole things somewhat more of an accomplishment.

Coinbase, the company used by Wikipedia, doesn’t charge non-profit organisations any transaction fees. So all donations will go directly and fully to Wikipedia.

We’ve seen massive bursts of donations before when companies and groups start to accept them, but over time they start to fade out. We can most likely expect the same here. Wikipedia being run on pure donations, will surely be very happy about each and every donation they get, digital or traditional.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Bitcoin.

George R.R. Martin wants to kill YOU in the Game of Thrones

From what I hear, Game of Thrones is meant to be quite an invigorating series that is the brainchild of George R.R. Martin; personally though I couldn’t tell you a single thing about it at all as I’m not into these sort of programmes. Our resident gaming and TV series addict, Pete, however would be able to tell you tons of information on the subject – but lets brush around that for now.

As the series creator, Martin is certainly well-known around the world (I guess this may have something to do with this series?) and whilst he is regarded to be a cold-hearted writer, there is a softer side to this real-life character – especially when it comes to saving wolves and helping out his local population in Santa Fé.

So how goes a TV series and a persons charitable side come together? To give support to both of Martin’s close to heart charities, he has set up a campaign through Prizeo, where fans of the TV series – and everyone else for that matter – can send in their donations to help out the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary and The Food Depot.

To spur his massive following into giving donations to both of these fantastic non-profit making organisations, backers can donate as little as $10 right up to a whopping $20,000 and based on the level that is donated, a number of rewards are on offer. Now unlike some charitable campaigns you won’t be seeing a cuddly toy or a picture sent out to you each week for the rest of the year; instead you will have to chance to own Martin’s own worn hat or even breakfast with him. Taking the opportunities up to another level, those who donate a little more could get tickets to the premier of Season 5 and a signed cookbook dedicated to the Game of Thrones.

Where the cream of the crop opportunity lies however is to those who donate that jaw dropping amount of $20,000, no you won’t see a hat or breakfast, nor will you get a book. What you will get is the chance to get yourself written into the next novel, “A Song of Ice and Fire”, where your fate will be met and you will die in a typically horrific manner. I hear this happens quite a lot – but hey donating large amounts of money to charity to help out those who are not so fortunate in life is worth dying for if you ask me – even if it is only in words.

Here is Martin’s message to the word:

Hi everyone,

It’s George R.R. Martin, and I’m here to raise money for the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary and The Food Depot of Santa Fé.

If you make a small donation to my campaign, you will automatically be entered to win an incredible experience. You and a friend will be flown out (from wherever you are in the world) to meet me in Santa Fé, where we’ll share a helicopter ride to the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary.

In addition to touring the Sanctuary together, we’ll also have plenty of time to discuss the show, A Song of Ice and Fire, direwolves – and if there’s anything you have ever wanted to ask me, here’s your chance!

Thank you for supporting my campaign. I look forward to meeting one of you!

– George R.R. Martin

Even if you don’t pledge $20k or get the hat, breakfast, tickets or the cookbook, don’t worry as EVERYONE that pledges will be in with a change of winning a trip to Santa Fé, where you can hang out with a group of wolves which take their name from the novels – the Westeros Pack. That in itself is worth the pledge.

Even if you don’t get any of the above goodies, or the trip to see the wolves, what you will be able to take away from this campaign is the reassurance that you are supporting two very good causes and helping out those in need. If this still doesn’t persuade you, hear it from the man himself – George R.R. Martin:


3D Printed Toys Made Their Way To 4,000 Disadvantaged Children This Christmas

3D printing has been one of the biggest trends of last year. Just about anything could be printed out, from guns to smartphone motherboards. It has been one of the most favourable tech discoveries form all times, and very useful indeed. Although the full extent of its usefulness cannot be measured at the moment, it did however made a big difference for 2013’s Christmas.

According to a BBC News article, the charity Kids Company made use of the 3D printing technology to print out toys for disadvantaged children. They had their doors opened for everyone to come and see how toys are made live, and maybe donate if they were generous enough, in Soho, London. The duration of the fund raising event spanned from December 13th up until December 18th, where people visiting the event could donate via text message and even choose the next toy design afterwards from six toy design templates.

World-famous animators Aardman, the people behind the nation’s much-loved Wallace and Gromit characters, have lent their support to the cause and have created two exclusive and limited edition toy designs for the event. The other toy designs have been made by companies Tado, Triclops, and Ultimaker.

After the fund-raising event, all toys were taken to the Kids Company Christmas party event by Santa, where 4,000 children enjoyed Christmas and opened up presents.

Thank you BBC UK and 3D Printing Insider for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of BBC UK

Bill Gates Was My Secret Santa

A reddit user by the name of “Rachel” got a pleasant surprise when she opened up her secret santa present. Reddit last year had over 44,000 people across 130 different countries take part in a record attempt to set the “largest secret santa” gift exchange, and they were at it again this year. Reddit user “Rachel” got a amazing surprise when she received her secret santa gift from “Bill”.

Little did “Rachel” know but “Bill” was actually the Bill Gates. “Rachel” went onto say;

“I thought Bill sounded like a friendly fellow. In fact, I had this whole image of this poor guy named Bill trying to navigate my wish list full of makeup, nail polish and glittery things to buy me. Quite frankly i felt bad for this Bill…”

“Bill” had sent her a stuffed cow, the travel book Journeys of a lifetime (along with a personalised christmas and birthday message written with in) and a donation to the nonprofit charity Heifer International, which helps end poverty, hunger, and to care for the earth. Upon receiving this gift “Rachel” went onto research the charity and had this to say;

“The cause seemed really worthy and amazing, and it is the season of giving. By the way, the charity gives families the right tools- such as animals, seeds, clean water, safe stoves, or a chance for girls to go to school.  Since my Masters Degree is in education I am a big supporter of proper education for all. It makes me so happy that he was able to donate to a charity on my behalf that helped people with both needs and educational benefits. Nailed it Bill.”

A spokesman for Mr Gates said that he hoped participating in the secret santa would bring attention to the nonprofit charity. On a side note after finding out who her secret santa was “Rachel” wrote to him saying;

“ps. Sorry for the Apple iPad on my wish list, that was really awkward.”

Thanks for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of

Wargaming Donates £75k For RAF Museum Education Centre

Wargaming, the online developers for the worldwide MMO game, World of Tanks, has announced it will be donating £75k to the RAF Museum in Cosford, Staffordshire.

The donation will be used to fund the building of a new education centre at the museum, as well as funding exhibitions at both the Cosford location and in London.

The RAF is currently restoring a Dornier 17 German bomber plane and those visiting the museum will be able to see the plane in action on their smartphones using augmented reality, as well as taking part in other interactive exhibits.

When asked why a gaming company should feel the need to sponsor a museum, Wargaming boss, Victor Kislyi said:

“Wargaming is passionate about military history, so we jumped at the opportunity to help be part of a truly historic endeavor.”

The benefits to the RAF Museum itself are obvious. It’s Director General, Peter Dye, beamed that the funding will allow it to tell an historical story in an innovative way whilst:

“Augmented reality, mobile applications and the use of user-generated content are new developments for the Museum and we are excited about exploring their possibilities.”

The funding announcement coincides with the beta-testing of Wargaming’s newest MMO game, World of Warplanes.