Paul Allen expanding Institute for Artificial Intelligence

The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, a sister company to Paul Allen’s Institute for Brain Science, plans to hire 25 people in the next year as it prepares to take its Aristo technology to the eighth grade, moving on from teaching it fourth-grade science.

Artificial intelligence has been all over the news lately, and this time not solely over fears that machines may eliminate people’s jobs. AlphaGo, an AI program developed by DeepMind, a Google company, beat one of the world’s foremost Go champions in March.

AlphaGo can train by playing the board game 24 hours a day, seven days a week. AI2’s Aristo cannot. There are only a finite number of scientific test questions in existence, and the AI2’s Aristo technology must learn using them

The machine also learns from researchers across the world. AI2 recently wrapped up a global competition in which teams ran their own programs through an eighth-grade science test to see which could get the top score.

The Allen Institute awarded the $50,000 grand prize to Chaim Linhart, a senior researcher at TaKaDu, an environmental-services company in Israel.

Next year, the stakes will be much higher. AI2 plans to offer a $1 million prize if any team can beat a certain threshold — the exact percentage has not yet been determined — followed by smaller monetary prizes for runners-up.