Sentient Raises $85 Million Co-Led by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund to Accelerate Open AI Development

Sentient Raises $85 Million Co-Led by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund to Accelerate Open AI Development



With the once-distant advent of artificial general intelligence (AGI) and the singularity suddenly years instead of decades away, artificial intelligence developer Sentient believes now is the time to establish a “new form of property rights”—and build out an open AI platform to ensure the technology remains accessible to all.

“The rapid advancement of AI has the potential to transform every aspect of our lives, but the concentration of power in the hands of a few centralized entities poses significant risks,” Polygon co-founder and Sentient core contributor Sandeep Nailwal said in a statement. “By building an open platform for AGI development, we aim to ensure that the benefits of AI are distributed equitably and that its development aligns with the interests of humanity as a whole.”

To achieve this, Sentient announced on Tuesday that it has raised $85 million in seed funding to build out its platform, hire AI research and blockchain engineering experts, and establish partnerships with leading academic institutions and industry players. The round was co-led by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Pantera Capital, and Framework Ventures.

San Francisco-based Sentient provides an open-source platform for AI research and development with the goal of “aligning AI innovations toward a community-built open AGI.”

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AGI is a still theoretical milestone where AI rivals or exceeds human intelligence across all knowledge areas.

“Few companies control access to these services—both the knowledge and the model itself, but also the how they offer AI to the rest of the world,” Sentient core contributor Pramod Viswanath told Decrypt. “Even governments can agree that this kind of concentration of AI in a few companies is really dangerous.

“On the other side, AI is a technology that many people can contribute to,” he added.

Whether AI remains safe and aligned with human interests is a top concern throughout the industry and among global leaders, and was the cause of corporate upheaval at OpenAI.

Viswanath, who is also a professor of engineering at Princeton University, emphasizes a balanced approach to AI development. The goal is not strict decentralization, he explained, but rather the fair distribution of power through the respect of property rights and aligned incentives.

“ AI is very shake and bake—it really benefits from a diversity of opinions,” Viswanath said. “But in some parts, we don’t care about diversity and decentralization, like inference.”

Inference is the process AI models use to form conclusions about new data—something that requires a lot of computing power.

“It’s hard enough to do inference on a GPU with a big cluster on a cloud, and doing it on a decentralized cloud? Oh my goodness,” he said.

While acknowledging the practical difficulties of decentralizing certain AI processes, Viswanath argued that ensuring community ownership and returning economic value for contributions is key.

“It’s the birth of a new form of property rights in AI that are largely to be defined, respected and figured out,” Viswanath said.

Other investors participating in the seed fundraising round include Ethereal, Robot Ventures, Symbolic Capital, Dao5, Delphi, Primitive Ventures, Nomad, Hack VC, Arrington Capital, Hypersphere, IDG, Topology, Protagonist, Folius, Sky9, Canonical Crypto, Dispersion Capital, Mirana, Foresight, HashKey, and Spartan.

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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