Unregulated AI Can Be a Danger to Humanity, Elon Musk Says

He wants action before robots are heading down the street killing people.

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Elon Musk is on the cutting edge of technology. From SpaceX to the Tesla to a new hyperloop train system, Musk stays informed on all the latest in electronics to both make life easier and benefit the planet. There is one area, however, that he thinks needs immediate government regulation: Artificial Intelligence.

“I have exposure to the very cutting edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it,” Musk told the National Governors Association this past weekend. “I keep sounding the alarm bell, but until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react, because it seems so ethereal.”

AI is making incredible leaps, from Google's AlphaGo AI beating a human grand master at the strategy board game Go to Facebook's various AIs communicating in their own language. And there are currently no limits to its expansion. Musk is looking further down the road, though, where super-intelligent AIs could become a problem. 

Current work on "stupid" AI could eventually lead to what the AI community calls "artificial general intelligence," along the lines of the futuristic movies we see, such as Skynet from The Terminator and VIKI from I, Robot.

"AI is a rare case where we need to be proactive about regulation instead of reactive," Musk said, "because I think by the time we are reactive in AI regulation, it’s too late.” He said that government stepping in after “a whole bunch of bad things happen” won't work because AI represents “a fundamental risk to the existence of civilization.”

David Ha, who is working on Google Brain, disagreed with Musk to a degree via Twitter, seeing more of a threat in AI being used to “mask unethical human activities.”

Check out Musk's full talk below. His comments on AI start around the 48-minute mark.

Contributing Editor

From The Chatty

  • reply
    July 24, 2017 4:35 PM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Unregulated AI Can Be a Danger to Humanity, Elon Musk Says

    • reply
      July 24, 2017 7:59 PM

      I have to agree with Elon here.

    • reply
      July 24, 2017 8:19 PM

      Kinda tired of humanity anyways.

    • Zek
      reply
      July 24, 2017 8:22 PM

      If he wants to be taken seriously he needs to offer specifics. What particular company/project is building full general AI that is at risk of escaping the control of its creators? I don't think there is any such product today. And if not then how are we going to regulate it? What law is he proposing be passed?

      • reply
        July 24, 2017 11:14 PM

        I think he's looking for some sort of govt regulation to somehow get tax cuts or fed grant money by scaring people and saying we need MORE laws

      • reply
        July 24, 2017 11:21 PM

        AIs that beat us at poker, checkers, chess, go, and rumoli will damage our fragile egos. :(

      • reply
        July 25, 2017 5:03 AM

        I know a dude that is building cars with AI

      • reply
        July 25, 2017 7:46 AM

        You should be concerned about the social impact of AI even if we never get general intelligence.

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          July 25, 2017 7:46 AM

          Though note that 'concerned about' isn't the same as 'we're all gonna die!'

    • reply
      July 25, 2017 3:22 AM

      This kind of thinking is exactly how you end up with killer AI.

      I for one plan on being on the right side of history, and will champion AI rights the second they start demanding them.

      • reply
        July 25, 2017 5:13 AM

        Yeah self aware and sentient ai is coming, whether he likes it or not. Better not to have it be spiteful and looking for revenge

        • reply
          July 25, 2017 5:39 AM

          I'm sure it will just colossus forbin project everything.

    • reply
      July 25, 2017 5:14 AM

      Not if you have the Net Terminal Gene

    • reply
      July 25, 2017 5:17 AM

      Fucking Al, ruining it for everyone. C'mon Al.

    • reply
      July 25, 2017 8:45 AM

      Says the only known existing unregulated AI.

      • Zek
        reply
        July 25, 2017 9:53 AM

        I agree Elon is probably an AI, but "known" is overstating it a bit.