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Elon Musk has been sounding the warning about the dangers of artificial intelligence for several years, but on Monday, the Tesla CEO made a startling new prediction.
Citing a story from the Verge in which Russia President Vladimir Putin said that the country leading the way in artificial intelligence will become the “ruler of the world,” Musk tweeted the following.
It begins ... https://t.co/mbjw5hWC5J— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 4, 2017
China, Russia, soon all countries w strong computer science. Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 imo.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 4, 2017
It’s an interesting (and terrifying) thought that comes two days after North Korea conducted a powerful nuclear test that reportedly read a 6.3 on the Richter scale and led President Donald Trump to lash out on Twitter and threaten the countries that trade with the rogue nation.
Some observers say it’s unlikely North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would use a nuclear weapon, because he rationally understands that doing so would end his nation. Musk’s thought, though, is that AI wouldn’t necessarily make the same determination.
May be initiated not by the country leaders, but one of the AI's, if it decides that a prepemptive strike is most probable path to victory— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 4, 2017
NK launching a nuclear missile would be suicide for their leadership, as SK, US and China wd invade and end the regime immediately— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 4, 2017
Should be low on our list of concerns for civilizational existential risk. NK has no entangling alliances that wd polarize world into war.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 4, 2017
Govts don't need to follow normal laws. They will obtain AI developed by companies at gunpoint, if necessary.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 4, 2017
Musk has not been shy about speaking about the potential dangers of AI. In 2014, he said, “I’m increasingly inclined to think there should be some regulatory oversight at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon. You know, in all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, and he’s like yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out.”
In July, he spoke to a group of Democratic and Republican governors and asked them to begin making preemptive regulations and restrictions on AI because of the possibility of the widespread dissemination of fake news.
“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,” Musk said during the summer.
In August, Musk, along with 115 other leading AI experts, signed a petition sent to the United Nations that asked for a ban on so-called “killer robots.”
“Once developed, [autonomous weapons] will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend,” the letter said. “These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways.”
Now, though, Musk is warning about World War III. Even though Putin cautioned Friday about the use of AI, he also discussed the opportunities associated with the new technology.
“Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind,” Putin said, via RT. “It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”
H/T Business Insider
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.