Pentagrams, holy water, er, DEMONS: Yes, it’s SpaceX tech titan on Artificial …

27 Oct 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

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

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 made the comments to students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) during an interview at the AeroAstro Centennial Symposium, talking about computer science, AI, space exploration and the colonisation of Mars. “I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence.It’s hard to call Elon Musk a technophobe — the Tesla CEO has been a vocal proponent of space exploration, the electric car and something called a “hyperloop.” But there’s one bit of future tech Musk isn’t so keen on: artificial intelligence.

And during a recent MIT aerospace symposium, Musk issued a grave warning about the potential dangers of AI research. “With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon. Cambridge professor and heralded physicist Stephen Hawking, for instance, is in Musk’s camp, saying AI may turn out to be our best and last creation.

Doesn’t work out.” Of course, we’ve all seen plenty of big-budget sci-fi warnings about havoc-wreaking robots, but Musk has actually been pretty consistent with his AI phobia. Didn’t work out.” The business magnate, inventor and investor, who is also CEO and CTO of SpaceX, and chairman of SolarCity, has warned about artificial intelligence before, which he believes could be more threatening than nuclear weapons. Then there’s tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist Marc Andreesen, who tweeted that he’s “increasingly convinced [Musk] simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about” and that anybody feeling “freaked out” about it should read this piece from the engineering geeks at IEEE Spectrum.

In June, he told CNBC his investments in AI research were meant “to keep an eye on” the technology, and a tweet from early August warns artificial intelligence could be “potentially more dangerous than nukes.” A CNET writer quips “Who knows what demonic hellscape could emerge if we ever let artificially intelligent machines get ahold of a Ouija board.” While Mashable writes, “Forget Tony Stark, the comic book character most often associated with Musk, it may be time to start thinking Doctor Strange. Doesn’t work out.’ Tweeting a recommendation for a book by Nick Bostrom called Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies that looks at a robot uprising, he wrote: ‘We need to be super careful with AI. Unfortunately, that is increasingly probable.” During his MIT appearance Musk also discussed his company SpaceX’s plans to help populate Mars. “It’s cool to send one mission to Mars, but that’s not what will change the future for humanity,” he said. “What matters is being able to establish a self-sustaining civilisation on Mars, and I don’t see anything being done but SpaceX. But Mr Hassabis has also predicted that AI machines will learn “basic vision, basic sound processing, basic movement control, and basic language abilities” by the end of the decade.

A recent Computerworld article noted that while there’ve been a lot of developments on specific aspects of AI, other pieces of the puzzle haven’t seen any recent progress. That purchase – Google’s largest European acquisition – came just months after it bought Boston Dynamics, a firm that produces life-like military robots. He talked at length about the problems and potential solutions around a colony on Mars, saying humanity’s survival hinges on becoming a “multi-planet species.” 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.

Professor Stephen Hawking has also warned that humanity faces an uncertain future as technology learns to think for itself and adapt to its environment. The South African-born multi-millionaire’s CV includes online payments system PayPal, electronic car manufacturer Tesla Motors, and Hyperloop – his proposal for a near-supersonic transport link between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Earlier this year, the renowned physicist discusses Johnny Depp’s latest film Transcendence, which delves into a world where computers can surpass the abilities of humans.

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