While SpaceX founder and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is known for his wariness of the power of artificial intelligence, he’s taken to social media again with another dire warning. However, this time, he has made an even stronger claim to his 12 million-plus Twitter followers: that a race for AI superiority is likely to trigger the next world war.
Musk's comment didn’t come unwarranted and was sparked by recent statements by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Last week, Putin spoke to a group of students about AI, saying, “Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind. … Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world,” reported RT.
In response, Musk tweeted out what might occur if that were to happen -- and in his mind, the results would be dire.
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
Further elaborating, the serial entrepreneur and chronic doomsday worrywart shared how his concerns were less focused on the countries with the strongest AI and more on the actual powers that AI will possess.
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
Musk has often warned of the dangers of these self-thinking machines, and has taken steps to try to prevent any sort of futuristic AI takeover. In August, he joined a group of AI experts in calling for a robotic weapons ban by the U.N. He also started a side project called Neuralink, which is creating a “computer-brain interface in order to help keep humans more competitive in the face of emerging AI,” explains CNET.
While a number of AI experts and tech companies today are confident in the future of AI, many are like Musk and cognizant that efforts must be taken to make sure it remains safe. The Partnership on AI involves major companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google and DeepMind coming together to work out programs and a set of ethics for AI to make sure it is not exploited and used for harm.
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