SpaceX may soon start landing rockets on a platform after they’ve left Earth

28 Oct 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »

Artifical intelligence is the biggest threat to human life, says Tesla’s Elon Musk.

The possibility of a Terminator-style war between man and self-aware computers is a real possibility, says billionaire Elon Musk, founder of PayPal, Tesla and Space X – who describes the creation of artificial intelligence as ‘like summoning a demon’.”I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence,” the CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla, said Friday in a talk at MIT in Cambridge, Mass. “If I were to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that.” During his talk–given in conjunction with the centennial celebration of the university’s Aeronautics and Astronautics Department–Musk urged government authorities to regulate A.I. to prevent researchers from doing “something very foolish.” “With artificial intelligence 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 it’s like yeah, he’s sure he can control 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. 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.” 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. Musk was asked if AI was anywhere close to being a reality and he replied that he thought we were already at the stage where there should be some regulatory oversight. “I’m increasingly inclined to think there should be some regulatory oversight maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish,” he said. 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. 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.

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. Doesn’t work out,” he added. “What matters is being able to establish a self-sustaining civilisation on Mars, and I don’t see anything being done but SpaceX. 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. 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.

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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