Paul Allen has not announced any targets for what AI2 will produce and by when, nor how much money he will pump into it, but he has already provided $400m for his brain research institute, so it won't be peanuts.
€1bn for Henry Markram's Human Brain Project, $300m and counting for Obama's BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies initiative, plus whatever Google and IBM are is spending. Pretty soon we'll be talking real money.
And what is this money being spent on? The creation of a human-level AI. We cannot know for sure yet whether and when this project will succeed, but many experts expect the first human-level AI to arrive before 2050 - possibly much sooner.
Human-level AI will either be very good for us - or disastrous. Too little thought is going into this. A possible roadmap is described here: http://bit.ly/170uDbM.
I tend to agree with you as to it will be very good for us or disastrous. I'm sure you remember Bill Joy's article in Wired: Why the future doesn't need us.
I watch with awe at what is being done in this area of AI, yet there are so many ethical issues involved. 2050 seems like it's way too far out, in my opinion. I'd be surprised if it took more than half that time.
Thanks for your comment--what do the rest of you think?