​Elon Musk: Artificial Intelligence Is an ‘Existential Threat’ to Humanity

27 Oct 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Building intelligent machines is like summoning the demon’: Elon Musk warns AI is mankind’s biggest threat.

Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla, has warned of the danger of artificial intelligence, saying that it is the biggest existential threat facing humanity. While speaking at the MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Department’s 2014 Centennial Symposium, Musk likened AI to an evil force. “We are summoning the demon,” he said. “You know all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water [and] he’s sure he can control the demon—it doesn’t work out,” Musk said.CHEERY NEWS FROM THE ELON MUSK camp: the technology advancer is still concerned about artificial intelligence, and is perhaps growing steadily more concerned.Elon Musk warned in no uncertain terms recently that the invention of artificially intelligent machines could pose the “biggest existential threat” to mankind.He may be one of the driving forces behind super-intelligent computers that could improve everything from space travel to electric cars, but Elon Musk has likened artificial intelligence to ‘summoning the demon’.

Musk, a pioneering technology visionary who has been described as ‘like the real Tony Stark’, says, ‘If I had to guess what the biggest threat to our existence is, it’s probably artificial intelligence.’ Musk says that fictional depictions of AI such as the lethal spaceship computer Hal 9000 would be ‘like a puppy dog’ in comparison with the powers and threat posed by a real, self-aware AI. He even suggested regulatory oversight at the national and international levels, to make sure “that we don’t do something very foolish.” In other news, a legal challenge to the FCC’s incentive auction has prompted the agency to push the spectrum swap until 2016.

We learned earlier that Musk believes robots may start to see humans as an annoying, trouble-causing nuisance, which to be fair we probably are, and choose to delete us. In an interview with The Huffington Post in January, he said, “I hope the A.I. is nice to us.” And earlier this year, he wrote in a tweet that artificial intelligence is “potentially more dangerous than nukes.” “Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history,” Hawking said in a Huffington Post blog post co-written by physicists Max Tegmark and Frank Wilczek and computer scientist Stuart Russell. “Unfortunately, it might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks.” At issue is a lawsuit filed in August by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which claims the auction could hurt TV stations that choose not to participate. Meanwhile, some AT&T U-verse customers on Friday were interrupted by a bogus emergency warning, issued “at the request of the White House.” Viewers reported seeing a message flash across their screens, before the TV changed the channel to the local NBC News affiliate. Doesn’t work out.’ Musk is behind the heavily computerised Tesla cars, the first cars to run on Lithium Ion batteries, and also behind Space X, the first privately owned spacecraft to travel to the International Space Station.

In 2002 when he launched SpaceX, some doubted his ability to make it a success, ten years on it became the first private company to launch a vehicle into space and bring it back to earth and now has a major contract with NASA. “It’s cool to send one mission to Mars, but that’s not what will change the future for humanity. Ray Kurzweil, Google’s director of engineering, predicts that by 2045, artificial intelligence will be here – and “mind uploads” will herald immortality, in a world of super-intelligent machines. Unfortunately, that is increasingly probable.’ Vicarious’ ultimate aim is to build a ‘computer that thinks like a person…except it doesn’t have to eat or sleep’, according to the company’s co-founder Scott Phoenix. ‘There have been movies about this, you know, like Terminator,’ Musk continued. ‘There are some scary outcomes.

Stuart Armstrong, from the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, also warned that AI may have other damaging implications such as uncontrolled mass surveillance and mass unemployment as machines and computers replace humans. In October 2013, the company announced it had developed an algorithm that ‘reliably’ solves modern Captchas – the world’s most widely used test of a machine’s ability to act human. To a certain extent the AI train has already left the station and is already in financial trading, as depicted in Robert Harris’s novel the Fear Index, and in video gaming.

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