When it comes to AI, Elon Musk has a name in treating it like some aliens’ attack or God’s wrath upon us, even without an exaggeration. Speaking at MIT in 2014, he called AI humanity’s “biggest existential threat” and compared it to “summoning the demon.” He is very optimistic about all other technologies like neurotechnology, self-driving cars, Mars colonization, and others, but Artificial Intelligence always seems to scare him. I wonder if it is something so dreadful as he says it is. Today, we will talk about the things he has said in the past years about AI implications and sees if they are convincing enough.
AI will cause WW3
Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the nations that lead in AI would rule the world, and Musk not only agrees but takes it one level further by saying that it will be a reason for World War III. He wrote on Twitter:
China, Russia, soon all countries w strong computer science. Competition for AI superiority at the national level most likely cause of WW3 imo.
AI, if not regulated, will end human life
At the National Governors Association held in July, Musk expressed his fears of AI by saying:
I have exposure to the most cutting edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned by it. AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization in a way that car accidents, airplane crashes, faulty drugs or bad food were not — they were harmful to a set of individuals within society, of course, but they were not harmful to society as a whole.
He has mentioned countless times that Artificial Intelligence and its advancement should be regulated by a government authority with a good insight into the subject. Otherwise, the rate at which AI is growing will soon result in humans being slaves of robots. He suggests a proper mechanism for this in his interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher:
My recommendation for the longest time has been consistent. I think we ought to have a government committee that starts off with insight, gaining insight. Spends a year or two gaining insight about AI or other technologies that are maybe dangerous, but especially AI. And then, based on that insight, comes up with rules in consultation with industry that give the highest probability for a safe advent of AI.
Smart robots will destroy “all” jobs
Elon Musk has a very strong viewpoint about AI taking jobs, and he agrees with those who say it will make humans jobless. The billionaire entrepreneur said at NGA:
There certainly will be job disruption. Because what’s going to happen is robots will be able to do everything better than us. … I mean all of us.
No job is safe and everything will eventually be taken by AI and Robots, but when it comes to the order in which the jobs will be lost, he says transportation jobs are the first ones.
Transport will be one of the first to go fully autonomous. But when I say everything — the robots will be able to do everything, bar nothing.
Whenever he talks about AI and its harms, he always has a solution to present, but to our astonishment, he has nothing to say in this regard. Quoting his exact words:
Yeah, I am not sure exactly what to do about this. This is really the scariest problem to me, I will tell you.
AI will grow exponentially in the coming years
Musk shared an article about “The Artificial Intelligence Revolution” on Twitter, saying that the advancement of AI will be extraordinary in the coming years. The Tesla Owner has been seen reassuring the same on countless occasions, but he never forgets to bring in the negative part. He worries that AI’s development will outpace our ability to manage it securely. Speaking at the South by Southwest tech conference 2018 in Austin, he said:
So the rate of improvement is really dramatic. We have to figure out some way to ensure that the advent of digital super intelligence is one that is symbiotic with humanity. I think that is the single biggest existential crisis that we face and the most pressing one.
Elon Musk talks and quotes about AI show that he doesn’t see much good in the coming age of Artificial Intelligence. We have seen both positive and negative effects of technology till now and will surely continue to see. As a particular technology grows, its regulation systems grow too and it stays under human control. So it doesn’t seem like Elon’s demand for regulation of AI is a foreign one. Rest, we can just wait for time to confirm.