Technological innovator and CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk revealed on Monday his theory for how humanity will fare under sophisticated technologies, like artificial intelligence.
If his theory is correct, the future is looking grim for humans. This is the major reason behind Musk’s unusual call for oversight.
“I am not normally an advocate of regulation and oversight — I think one should generally err on the side of minimizing those things — but this is a case where you have a very serious danger to the public,” Musk said, per CNBC.
Musk predicts that if a technology company is able to build a “super-intelligent” computer, it could eventually outpace its human programmers and take over the world. According to Musk, the computer could dominate society and government.
Musk made the comments during an interview with documentary filmmaker Chris Paine, Daily Wire reports:
Technological innovator Elon Musk is warning humanity that artificial intelligence could one day reach sentience and create for itself an immortal dictatorship “from which we can never escape.”
“The least scary future I can think of is one where we have at least democratized AI because if one company or small group of people manages to develop godlike digital superintelligence, they could take over the world,” Musk said, according to a CNBC review of the resulting documentary.
“At least when there’s an evil dictator, that human is going to die. But for an AI, there would be no death. It would live forever. And then you’d have an immortal dictator from which we can never escape.”
Musk mentioned his company was not currently working on anything of the sort and is instead focusing on manned space flight missions:
Musk is not currently working on a super-intelligence — his focus is instead on manned space flight, ostensibly so that humanity could one day have a path out of a robot dictatorship — but he says the temptation to develop smarter and smarter artificial intelligence is so great, that it’s likely a company like Google won’t be able to resist the pull of an increasingly automated world.
But, Musk warns, the HBO series, “WestWorld” is a good example of what happens once humanity begins the process of replicating itself in robotic form. “If AI has a goal and humanity just happens to be in the way, it will destroy humanity as a matter of course without even thinking about it. No hard feelings,” he says.
Musk has also in the past predicted a “third world war” involving a robot military. He’d be pleased to know that some of the world’s first robot soldiers appeared in military training exercises just this week.
As CNBC similarly reports, Musk believes artificial intelligence poses a bigger problem to humanity than that of nuclear weapons:
The billionaire tech entrepreneur called AI more dangerous than nuclear warheads and said there needs to be a regulatory body overseeing the development of super intelligence, speaking at the South by Southwest tech conference in Austin, Texas on Sunday.
It is not the first time Musk has made frightening predictions about the potential of artificial intelligence — he has, for example, called AI vastly more dangerous than North Korea — and he has previously called for regulatory oversight.
“The biggest issue I see with so-called AI experts is that they think they know more than they do, and they think they are smarter than they actually are,” said Musk. “This tends to plague smart people. They define themselves by their intelligence and they don’t like the idea that a machine could be way smarter than them, so they discount the idea — which is fundamentally flawed.”
Based on his knowledge of machine intelligence and its developments, Musk believes there is reason to be worried.
Note: The author of this article has included commentary that expresses an opinion and analysis of the facts.