In Tech: AI research center, Android Pay, OneDrive storage

In Tech: AI research center, Android Pay, OneDrive storage

Three billionaires who launched PayPal & then went on to even greater success in their next ventures are now trying to make sure that artificial intelligence does more satisfactory than harm to humans.

PayPal ringleaders Elon Musk, Peter Thiel & Reid Hoffman are joining forces with several other technology luminaries & companies to contribute $1 billion to finance a Silicon Valley research center that will dig deeper into the field of artificial intelligence, or "machine learning."

The nonprofit company, called OpenAI, will focus on improving "digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole."

p>Musk, who has amassed an estimated fortune of $13 billion, has been particularly outspoken approximately his fears that computers could work against humans if the efforts to develop artificial intelligence go awry. He made waves last year when he described artificial intelligence as a potential "demon" & our "biggest existential threat."

OpenAI will be run by Ilya Sutskever, who spent the past three years working for Google's "brain team" that focused on machine learning.

Although he first received rich as a PayPal co-founder, Musk has made far more money as CEO of electric car maker Tesla Motors & rocket ship maker Space X.

Thiel, PayPal's former CEO, is better known as one of Facebook's early investors & a critic of college education. His fortune is currently estimated at approximately $3 billion.

Hoffman was one of PayPal's first employees & then went on to co-found professional networking service LinkedIn Corp., which accounts for most of his estimated fortune of approximately $4 billion.

__ Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer

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Tap-and-pay services continue to expand gradually.

Google said Tuesday that it will start offering Android Pay in Australia in the first half of next year. Google Inc. says it's working with leading financial institutions with the goal of making it available to MasterCard & Visa card holders. Apple Pay launched in Australia last month, yet only for American Express customers.

Android Pay is Google's answer to Apple Pay, which requires an Apple device. Both let you make purchases by tapping the phone next to a store's payment machine — as long as it's a newer machine with wireless capabilities known as NFC.

Samsung has its own payment service, Samsung Pay, on its main Android phones. It goes further than Android & Apple Pay in working with many machines that lack NFC. That's because it has a backup mechanism to replicate old-school card swipes.

On Tuesday, Samsung announced support for 19 additional banks, including PNC Bank & KeyBank.

Even as phone makers push their mobile-payment services, financial institutions & retailers such as Wal-Mart have been working on their own services.

__ Anick Jesdanun, AP Technology Writer

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After a backlash, Microsoft is reversing part of its plan to tighten free storage offered through its OneDrive online storage service.

Last month, Microsoft said it will cut its free option to 5 gigabytes next year, down from 15 gigabytes now. Microsoft says the new allotment is enough for approximately 6,600 Office documents or 1,600 photos.

That cut will still apply to new customers, yet existing customers can keep the 15 gigabytes, plus any bonuses they had earned through promotions. But they must claim them by the end of January at http://aka.ms/onedrivestorage .

Microsoft Corp. still plans to eliminate unlimited storage for subscribers of its Office 365 service, which starts at $7 a month. Subscribers will now be limited to 1 terabyte, or 1,000 gigabytes, of storage. The company said a "small number of users" had abused the unlimited option by backing up numerous personal computers & storing entire movie collections.

__ Anick Jesdanun, AP Technology Writer

Source: “Associated Press”